Home Secretary Amber Rudd is reported to be leading a campaign to remove international students from the country’s net migration statistics. The fact that the UK includes international student numbers in the net migration tally is a contentious one, and the debate has been fuelled by this being seen as a contributing factor to more restrictive visa policy in recent years.
The Financial Times reports that a cabinet minister has stated that Prime Minister Theresa May is in “a minority of one” (within the cabinet) in believing that students must be counted in the target, and that the pressure on her to change her position is mounting ahead of the Commons considering a bill to set-up a post-Brexit regime early next year.
The moves in recent years to limit work rights for international students, introduce higher visa fees and the impact of the government voting to reduce net migration to under 100,000 migrants per year, have all served to create a more unwelcoming perception of the UK; a welcoming host country being of paramount importance to international students when choosing their institution, something we discussed a few weeks ago in our newsletter.
The ICEF article below goes into more detail about the impact of recent policy in the UK, and the growing evidence that disproves the long-held belief by many that international students overstay their visas.
Meanwhile, the debate about whether or not to reverse the inclusion of foreign students in net migration targets will be further intensified by a study, commissioned by the UK government for report in September 2018, of the impacts of foreign students on the UK economy. Alistair Jarvis from Universities UK told ICEF that “if the UK wants to remain a top destination for international students and staff, we need a new immigration policy that encourages them to choose the UK.”
ASIC echoes the sentiment of Universities UK in welcoming further discussion, and continues to support international students and the tremendous contribution they make to the UK.
To read the ICEF Monitor article please click here.