Students and the net migration target

June 05, 2013

On the eve of debates in both Houses of Parliament, Migration Watch UK has issued a paper underlining the need to continue including students in the calculation of net migration.

Key points as follows:

  • Our major competitors do include them (as Universities UK now apparently accept). To remove them would destroy the credibility of the government’s immigration policy.
  • 20% of foreign students stay on legally but there is still no way of knowing that the other 80% have actually left.
  • There is extensive evidence of abuse, especially from the Indian Sub-Continent. Students who overstay are harmful to our economy and society.
  • A major effort is needed to cut out bogus students with a programme of interviews, as well as measures to persuade genuine students to leave at the end of their courses.
  • The UK already receives 200,000 non EU students every year. Annual growth of 5% would increase the annual intake in ten years time to over 325,000. The system must be tightened before this number is allowed to increase any further.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said “Our major competitors, the US and Australia, both include students in net migration. The difference is that they do not have a target for net migration – perhaps because they are continents rather than small islands. The university lobby would be foolish to dismiss the strong public concern about present massive levels of immigration.”

Notes to Editors:

1 On Thursday 6 June 2013 there will be a Backbench Business Debate in the House of Commons on Student Visas. The motion is ‘That this House notes the recommendations of the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, the Home Affairs Select Committee, and the Committee of Public Accounts, together with the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee and the EU Sub-Committee on Home Affairs, Health and Education, for the removal of students from net migration targets; and invites the Home Office to further consider the conclusions of these Committees in developing its immigration policy.’
2 In the House of Lords there will be a debate. The motion is that ‘this House takes note of the Report of the European Union Committee on The EU’s Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (8th Report, Session 2012–13, HL Paper 91).’

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