Vis-à-vis the facts

November 10, 2016

I think it is unfair to assume that all Brexiters have an inward-looking approach to the UK’s position in the global community (“The UK is losing the economic and political arguments over international students”, 26 October). Wishing to leave a Eurocentric political and economic union should not necessarily be associated with a desire to limit the number of international students coming to the UK. Post-Brexit, it is more important than ever that the UK continues to attract students from across the world.

Unfortunately, the government’s anti-international student immigration policies have already had a damaging effect on the UK education sector.

This obsessive, short-sighted desire to significantly reduce the number of high-calibre, fee-paying, high-spending international students coming to the UK is based on the misconception that many are using student visas as a soft route to migration and/or will attempt to remain in the UK after finishing their studies. This is a fallacy that should be exposed.

The International Passenger Survey figures being used by the Home Office to calculate migration flow in and out of the UK are based on an incredibly small sample of passengers entering and leaving the UK. They do not provide accurate, representative data on the number of students who fail to comply with their visa requirements.

Because the government insists on using the inaccurate IPS data, Theresa May believes it is necessary to introduce punitive visa rules dependent on institution rankings in a misguided attempt to reduce the number of international students coming to the UK.

These proposals must be challenged by cross-sector education institutions lobbying to force questions to be asked in Parliament, enlisting support from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration and the foreign secretary, along with more articles such as this one by David Boddy appearing in the media.

Vincent AEC

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