Last week, prime minister Theresa May came under fire over her insistence that students would not be taken out of the government’s immigration targets.
Among her critics was former education secretary Nicky Morgan, who said: “How do we expect to build positive relations with India and China if they think their students aren’t welcome?”
A report published yesterday by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) suggested that the gross benefits to the UK from the 230,000 new international HE students each year totalled £22.6 billion. Hepi director Nick Hillman says that the figure “includes all the potential costs, and conclusively proves these are tiny compared to the huge benefits”.
Neil Carmichael, former chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, also believes that including students in immigration figures is “an error”.
“They should be taken out of immigration figures and the Office for Students should take on the counting responsibility,” he says. “We have also got to look at our immigration system and look at Tier 2 and 4 visas, and look at how we can make it easier for students.”