Ceredigion MP Ben Lake has called for visas to make it easier for universities to attract international students to be maintained as unions continue warnings of up to 200 job cuts at Aberystwyth University amid a financial crisis.

The Cambrian News revealed last week that up to 200 jobs are at risk at Aberystwyth University after its new Vice-Chancellor unveiled a ‘transformation programme’ that unions warn would “reduce staff by an unprecedented amount” in a bid to balance the books.

Vice-Chancellor Jon Timmis held a series of all staff meetings on 9 May after the university identified a £15m financial black hole next year if significant savings aren’t made.

Prof Timmis blamed high inflation, stagnant domestic student fees and the downtown in international recruitment as major factors, while the Aberystwyth branch of the UCU union said the plans to cut costs and boost revenue to manage the deficit will mean staff numbers being cut by around eight to 11 per cent resulting in 150 to 200 job losses.

Now, Mr Lake has urged for the UK Government to confirm graduate visas will stay after a report by the Migration Advisory Committee recommended they continue , because scrapping them could “certainly deal a blow to the economy of Ceredigion”.

Mr Lake wrote to the Home Secretary to urge him to consider the impact of attaining a lower number of international students on the financial stability of universities, and to maintain the graduate visa.

“Scrapping it would cause irreparable damage to universities like Aberystwyth which are already facing a financial crisis,” he said.

“The report states that scrapping the route could disproportionately impact local and regional economies outside London and the South East of England, and it would certainly deal a blow to the economy of Ceredigion.

“The Home Office should accept the advice in full and confirm it will maintain the graduate-route visa.”

Following concerns from the UCU union, the union Unison has also raised fears over the extent of job cuts at the university.

Unison Aberystwyth University branch secretary Diane Jones said: “This is an extremely worrying time for all staff with cuts likely across the university potentially affecting large numbers of workers.

“Unison represents employees at the university providing essential services including cleaning, catering, libraries, security, student services and administrative and managerial support.

“We will scrutinise all proposed changes and ensure workers are supported throughout this unsettling period and beyond.”