Immigration stats are bad news for the Government, but worse news for Britain

Reducing the number of foreign students runs directly against the UK's best interests

Share
Related Topics

Today’s immigration statistics show that the number of international students coming to the UK is continuing to decline. Back in 2010, 245,000 young people travelled to study in the UK. Three years on, the number has nose–dived to just 176,000.

International students are vital to the UK. The Department of Business Innovation and Skills has estimated that they contribute over £13 billion to the UK economy each year. This vital funding pays for new facilities in university labs and ensures the viability of subjects like maths and engineering. International students generate 70,000 jobs in towns and cities throughout the UK and they build crucial links with emerging economies like China.

International education is also a booming global industry. The number of international students grew by 23 per cent between 2005 and 2009 alone. In response, the UK’s competitors like Australia, the US and France are streamlining their visa processes and putting together a package to entice globally mobile young people to study in their institutions. Sweeteners include the ability to stay on in the country to gain work experience for a few years or to support themselves by working alongside their studies.

But the UK has done the opposite. The UK’s ‘post-study work’ route was closed in 2011. Application requirements have been made more convoluted. Meeting regulations to sponsor international students costs the higher education sector £67 million a year and is forcing providers out.

The Government claims that reductions in numbers are a result of tough action against ‘bogus students’. But the Home Office’s own analysis shows that ‘bogus students’ only account for a small part of this reduction. Analysis by UKBA in 2010 identified a maximum of 2% of students at institutions with highly trusted sponsor status were ‘potentially non-compliant’ with their visas (meaning that they were either not studying or not known to have left the country when their visa expired). Abuse was a problem in the past. But there is limited evidence that it has been a problem recently.

The Government has made it harder to study in the UK in order to meet their target to reduce net migration from the hundreds to the tens of thousands by 2015. While there is an argument to be had about reducing migration for other reasons, reducing the number of genuine students is directly against the UK’s best interests and is causing profound damage to a vital export industry.

Today’s IPPR report sets out a package of measures to allow the UK to attract the brightest best while remaining strong against immigration abuse and ensuring that students contribute to life in the UK. Through improved work rules, more responsive oversight and greater involvement of BIS in rule setting the UK, can retain its reputation for quality international education. The government should commit to increasing the number of international students studying at British education institutions, because Britain needs them.

Jenny Pennington is a Researcher at IPPR

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all