Response to the Institute of Directors on Student Immigration Reforms

February 15, 2012

In response to the statement issued by the Institute of Directors on the student visa reforms Sir Andrew Green commented:

“The Institute of Directors' statement is deeply misleading and self serving with an arrogant disregard not only for public opinion generally but also for the 20% of recent British graduates who are still unemployed.

It is particularly absurd to talk about foreign students being “ignominiously ejected” from the UK.  Half a million students from outside the European Union come here every year and must be expected to leave at the end of their studies – otherwise the student route would become a backdoor to Britain.  Last year 40,000 stayed on; the independent Migration Advisory Committee described the current scheme as "probably one of the most generous schemes of its type in the world". The new arrangements are intended to reduce this number by focusing on those who are really valuable to employers.  If the “highly skilled MBAs” referred to by the IoD cannot secure a salary of £20,000 a year they cannot be as vital as is implied.  Some employers may want cheap labour but British graduates need jobs”.


The immigration policy changes will decrease export earnings by only around 1% per annum according to the Department for Business, Industry and Skills (BIS). They estimate that the changes in student immigration policy will decrease export earnings by around £203 million in 2014/14 and £268 million by 2024/5.  The total value of UK education exports is estimated at £17.6 billion in 2015 and £26.6 billion by 2005.

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