Duncan Lewis


Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

Government has rejected the claims of British Universities that the immigration policy changes was stopping brighter students from entering into UK

Date: (30 May 2012)    |    

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After the Universities had warned that coalition crackdown on immigration was risking losing legitimate foreign students to other countries and losing billions of pounds worth of investments, the government rejected the claims saying that the policy was not deterring genuine students from coming into the UK.
The government said that there was no threat to the British Universities because of the crackdown on immigration.
Nearly 70 universities had written a representation to the Prime Minister warning the consequences of the changes to student visas would have on bright students.
They urged the government to take foreign students, who bring in £8bn a year, out of net immigration counts.
But the immigration Minister Damian Green said the government was "determined to prevent the abuse of student visas as part of government’s plans to get net migration down to the tens of thousands.
Students who came into the UK for over a year were not visitors; the numbers were affecting communities, public services and infrastructure he said.
In the letter, senior education figures called for the prime minister to class foreign students as temporary rather than permanent migrants.
But Mr Green pointed out that the Independent Office for National Statistics was responsible for producing net migration figures, which were based on an internationally agreed definition of a migrant as someone entering the country for more than a year.
The public confidence in statistics would not be improved by revising the process of net migration numbers were presented by removing students, he said.
In their letter, the signatories expressed concern that Britain's higher education industry could be harmed by changes to immigration policy.
They said that one in every ten students who left their home country for studies were coming to Britain, generating around £8bn a year in tuition fees, which was bound to increase to £17bn by 2025.
But the heads warned the government's immigration policy risked driving international students to the United States, Australia, Canada and Germany.