Immigration figures will put universities at risk

Universities UK, which represents 134 vice chancellors, has warned including international students in immigration figures and new student visa restrictions, is putting British Universities and the British economy at risk

Photo credit: UK in Italy

Photo credit: UK in Italy

Universities UK, which represents 134 vice chancellors, has warned including international students in immigration figures and new student visa restrictions is putting British Universities and the British economy at risk. Experts have predicted that the potential reduction of 50,000 international students a year arising from such a move would cost the UK as much as £4-6 billion.

The Institute for Public Policy Research alleges this system of measuring students enables the government to capitalise on reaching its 2015 net migration target and would reduce the number of international students coming to the UK in 2012-14.

The UK’s immigration minister Damian Green believes international students should be counted as migrants because significant numbers stay. IPPR researchers claim 15% of overseas students stay on to work permanently in Britain and only this 15 per cent should be included in net migration figures.

The Home office’s push to reduce the number of overseas students who come to Britain annually is an attempt to reduce annual net migration from its current level of around 250,000 a year to below 100,000, in time for the 2015 general election. This is a short-sighted vote-grabbing policy and, in the long term, economically disadvantageous.

There appears to be a misunderstanding of the positive contribution international students make towards both regional and national economies. The UK benefits culturally and academically from international students and indirectly from trade and international relationships. The government should cut student numbers out of its official migration figures. If these immigration policies are not modified we risk reducing the numbers of short-term visitors who are vital culturally, academically and economically to the UK.

Mr Green has told MPs that he disagrees with the argument that students are not migrants. “Under longstanding international measures, students and others who come to the UK for more than a year are counted as migrants. I agree that not all students remain permanently but significant numbers do.”

International students currently contribute £5 billion a year to the UK economy and analysts predict this figure could increase to £17 billion by 2025. Mr Green alleges that more than 23,000 migrants granted the right to settle in 2009 had arrived in the UK as a student.

Every international student is estimated to be worth more than £15,000 to the UK in fees and living expenses. Whilst British undergraduates currently pay £3,350 a year for tuition, an international student can be charged up to £22,000 annually for a degree in the sciences, while postgraduate science courses can cost up to £25,000.

The Home Office’s visa policies risk Britain’s international reputation and economic development, and deters students from applying and enriching our universities. During these tough economic times we should be attracting international students, not deterring them.

6 comments

  1. “Whilst British undergraduates currently pay £3,350 a year for tuition, an international student can be charged up to an annual £22,000 for a science degree.”

    Laura Clark(Mail Online)
    “Thousands of middle-class youngsters have been priced out of university by the trebling of tuition fees to £9,000-a-year, figures revealed yesterday.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2093836/Tuition-fees-increase-Middle-class-priced-university-applications-fall-nearly-10.html#ixzz1w5UatBKb

    There’s an unlimited supply of rich overseas families that want a British education for their children. Obviously you will need to squeeze out the UK citizens so you can maximize the profit for Universities!

  2. “Experts predict that the potential reduction of 50,000 international students each year would cost the UK as much as £4-6 billion”.
    Who are these experts? Where is the data to support their views? It would be nice to assume that the 134 chancellors, who represent Universities UK, might have the intelligence to be able to take a longer view beyond the desire for financial gain. 50% of British university places are now reserved for non EU International students. The remaining 50% of places are then divided between EU and British students ( who, from Sept 2012, will be paying hugely increased fees not too far off the fees charged to international students).
    That means that Britain is now educating the rest of the world at the expense of British students. If the learned professors think that this is good for the future of Britain then they are either barking mad or working to an agenda not shared with the rest of the population who live outside of their rarefied world. Pompous drivel about “Britain’s International reputation” becomes increasingly meaningless in world where “Britain” has become nothing more than a brand to be marketed. The international wealth brigade have been buying up British heritage brands and real estate at a dizzying rate of knots. Vast areas of London are now owned by the Quatari Royal family. The Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese, Indians, Greeks and Italians are hoovering up everything else and they all want British education for their kids. Why should a few academically gifted men, living in ivory towers, be allowed to dictate the future of a country and its population, purely on the basis of short term economic greed?

  3. Oh look more ‘If only all the foreigners would go away and leave us alone we would be great again!’ comments (sigh…) International students subsidise British students, they don’t take places away from them. Up until this year when the rules changed, the government told every university how many UK undergraduate students they were allowed to recruit, with stiff penalties if they went too far over. International students are not subject to a cap, so represent extra students that universities can take after they have met their limit of home students – and the large fees they pay do subsidise others, especially for stem courses. Around 75% of international students at universities are there for Postgraduate study – If many of these stopped coming it wouldn’t suddenly open the doors for UK students but slam them shut, because a huge number of Postgraduate courses would close, since they wouldn’t be able to recruit enough home students to be viable. Universities as a whole would also start offering less to home students as they wouldn’t have the fees from international students to help balance the books anymore. If the government really want to promote education for British students they should think of a funding method that doesn’t saddle young people with huge debts, and look at putting in proper funding for the postgraduate courses that our economy needs, so that british students can afford to do them as well, rather than encouraging idiots to blame it all on the foreigners.

  4. Governments have vested interest in inflating the number of foreign immigrants for their populist votes. A Non-EU foreigner coming here on highly skilled visa makes a net positive contribution to the economy as s/he is liable to all taxes and no recourse to public money.

    My personal advise for overseas students should be to seek education in continental countries who don’t charge extra to overseas students and pay them rebates similar to all citizens. In France for instance, students get the same housing benefits called ALS or APL, that any other French gets and they pay the same fees in the state universities as any other French national. In addition, while you are there, one can learn one or two foreign languages and increase the skill sets needed for success in the global economy.

  5. “50% of British university places are now reserved for non EU International students. The remaining 50% of places are then divided between EU and British students (who, from Sept 2012, will be paying hugely increased fees not too far off the fees charged to international students). That means that Britain is now educating the rest of the world at the expense of British students”… Dear Writer can you please explain the above statement further as how you calculate that International Students have been educated on the expense of British Student when you admits that each International student pays 50 to 60% extra toward their tuition fee only except accommodation etc. While you also have to consider that this is type of foreign revenue toward British economy as well.

  6. 28 May ’12 at 1:16 pm

    Amanda Banana.

    I love international students! International students are the best.

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