5 Conclusions |
review of the student immigration system is part of a concerted
effort by the Government to reduce net migration figures. The
Government has stated that it does not wish to target legitimate
students but, at the same time, we would caution against measures
which could be detrimental to a thriving, successful industry.
The export of education is not only economically beneficial to
this country but also vital to the UK's international relations.
the UN requires students to be included in migration figures,
we are not persuaded that students are in fact migrants. Only
if a student or former student seeks settlementor the length
of time they have spent in the country is excessiveshould
their status in the UK be regarded as that of a migrant rather
than a student visitor. This is not to soften the approach to
reducing immigration numbers but to recognise that not all students
remain permanently, that those who do make a significant contribution
to the economy, and that students who come to this country benefit
us economicallythrough the payment of fees and wider spendingas
well as contributing significantly to strengthening and enhancing
Britain's place in the world.
policy ought to be evidence-based. We are concerned that a policy
based on flawed evidence could damage the UK education sector
and could have wider implications. We strongly urge the Government
to examine the data which it currently uses to extrapolate migration
figures. Whilst we are aware that it cannot do so in time to coincide
with this policy announcement, we are convinced that it ought
to be a priority for the near-future.