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January 2, 2018 10:40 AM

Stockton Liberal Democrats have welcome the Government proposal to at last drop students coming to study at accredited universities being part of the immigration target for the UK.

Not only is it good for Britain, millions of pounds being generated from foreign students, but it is only right that students should be welcomed here, as our students are in other countries.

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said: "For years Theresa May has stubbornly refused to accept that international students are not immigrants, while the Home Office has wildly exaggerated the number of those who overstay. This absurd policy has fuelled concerns over immigration numbers and done serious damage to our universities. It's about time the government dropped this completely self-harming approach. International students generate over £25 billion for our economy and support thousands of jobs across the country. We should be encouraging more students to come and spend their money in the UK, instead of needlessly hampering one of Britain's most successful export industries."

Local Lib Dem, Suzanne Fletcher, was actively part of the working party formulating party policy nationally, and this was a proposal put forward and adopted as party policy by them, four years ago.

She said " if only the Tory Government had listened to us all those years ago, it would have helped our local universities here, brought billions of pounds into our economy, kept a lot of courses going, and helped to create jobs.

Contact Suzanne Fletcher, 01642 786456 or 07843 136 523


Making Migration Work for Britain can be viewed here : https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/libdems/pages/4138/attachments/original/1392840151/116_-_Making_Migration_Work_for_Britain.pdf?1392840151 The extract about students and the immigration cap is here :

Student and Academic Migration

1.1.1 Higher Education is one of our most successful export markets. Students travelling to the United Kingdom were worth an estimated £13 billion in 2012, expected to rise to £16 billion over the next 5 years. International students build long term professional links with UK organisations, helping our businesses trade in future. They directly benefit our higher education institutions, and the fees they pay help fund the education of British students, and keep our universities amongst the best in the world.

1.1.2 Those benefits for host countries provoke fierce international competition for overseas students. According to the Russell Group the UK is the 2nd most popular destination in the world for international first degree and PhD students, behind the USA. Clearly we should aim to grow and not harm such a valuable export market. Yet some aspects of current policy, in particular the net migration target, which includes international students, have caused needless damage. The number of students coming to the UK from outside the EEA fell in 2011, for the first time since 20082. This reduction has denied our economy the clear benefits international students bring.

  1. The Russell group report that due to insignificant demand many courses wouldn't be available for British students without the fees contributed by foreign students. 2. Based on passenger entry data, Migration Observatory briefing - student migration.

1.1.3 Britain should encourage more bona fide students to come; however legitimate concerns about abuses of the student migration route do exist. They include the role of bogus and unaccredited colleges, and overstayers who fail to comply with visa conditions after study. The Government has taken steps to clamp down on these abuses, but there is more to do.

1.2.1 Liberal Democrats want Britain to be open for business, so we want to see more genuine international students come to the UK. Britain should be welcoming those who choose UK universities rather than our international competitors, and we should be protecting, maintaining and promoting the world class reputations of our universities. It is also right that we clamp down further on those who would abuse the student migration system.

Taking students out of the net migration target Students differ from other non-EEA economic migrants; they are issued only temporary visas which do not provide a route to permanent residency in the UK. The Migration Observatory reports that of those international students who entered in 2006, 82% no longer remained by 2009. Irrespective of the future of any Net Migration Target, it makes no economic or social sense to limit the flow of international students to the UK. Liberal Democrats propose, therefore, that students should be taken out of any future net migration target