Foreign students should not be included in government immigration cuts

Top dogs at British universities have called for international students to be excluded from government efforts to cut immigration.

A report, published by Universities UK, showed that 59% of the public thought the government should not reduce international student numbers, even if that limits the government’s ability to cut immigration overall.

The organisation, whose 134 members are made up of university vice-chancellors, say the public understands the economic and educational benefits brought to Britain by those who come here to study.

“There is a broad public consensus that international students are good for Britain,” said Mark Field, Conservative MP. “People welcome the income they bring to these shores; they are happy to see the skills they have gained here help British firms rather than our international competitors,” he added.

The report also revealed that 61% agree universities would have less funding to invest in facilities and teaching without the higher fees paid by international students. Some undergraduates pay up to £35,000 a year against a maximum of £9,000 paid by UK and EU students.

75% think that international students should be allowed to stay and work in the UK after graduating from British universities. Only 22% believe international students should count as migrants. Most people do not understand why they would be counted towards the government’s immigration targets, the report concluded.