The Home Secretary, Theresa May, recently revealed government plans to send international students home after graduation, in order to control the immigration flow. However, there has been large-scale opposition and condemnation of her student exit plan, with many saying the target should be illegal immigrants not overseas students.
It is likely that non-EU students arriving in the UK to study next year will face being expelled as soon as they finish their studies; Ms. May justified the move by saying that the UK needs tougher controls, arguing that over a quarter of immigration was through the student visa system. The policy will reduce the duration of Tier 4 student visas from sixteen months to just twelve months, after twelve months students who want to either seek employment or travel around the UK will be forced to return to their home countries and apply for a new visa.
However, fierce indignation and condemnation hailed down on her proposal. Yvette Cooper MP, the shadow Home Secretary, said that more needs to be done to stop people overstaying illegally when their visas expire, than to prevent highly skilled overseas graduates getting jobs to work here.
Shan Kwok, a student from Singapore, studying Geopolitics at Royal Holloway said: ‘I think it’s a response to the fact that locals are not happy with the number of foreigners in their country.’ Some even expressed the UK government has already been rather harsh on them. Takeshi Murakoshi, a RHUL student from Japan commented that “When I extended my student visa for further studies, it took ages and I had to take an interview with staff as if I had done something wrong. Although I understand the situation and what the UK government wants to do, the proposal is completely unfair.’
Overseas students are undoubtedly a crucial source of revenue for the UK. More discussions may be needed before these measures comes into effect.