1. Much attention has been paid to the apparent failure of the government to reduce non-EU migration. However, it would seem that this is very largely due to the significant number of students who have remained in the UK, legally or otherwise.
2. Non-EU net migration has averaged 172,000 in the last ten years, as recorded by the International Passenger Survey (IPS); an average of 271,000 non-EU migrants have arrived while just 99,000 have left the country.
3. In the recent past (2010-2013), an average of 156,000 non-EU migrants arrived each year for study but only 46,000 a year have been recorded as departing in the period 2012 to 2015, when most of this intake might have been expected to leave. This suggests that around 100,000 students have stayed on. Students appear therefore to be a very significant source of non-EU net migration.
4. A number of students switched into work or marriage visas but most extensions were for further study. There seems to be no record of most of the latter departing the UK.
To read the full briefing paper, see: http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/387