Overseas students are more likely to go home at the end of their visa than most other groups, Home Office research proves.
The report 'The Migrant Journey' was written to inform the Coalition's review of UK immigration, and was cited by immigration minister Damian Green in a widely-previewed speech tonight.
Tony Millns, chief executive of English UK, commented: "In fact, the report shows that the vast majority of students are returning home, in contrast to people coming to the UK for family or work reasons."
The report shows that:
- Of those coming to the UK under the Family route, as a relative of a British citizen, 63 per cent were still in the UK after five years, and 55 had gained settlement rights
- Of those coming on the Work (leading to citizenship) route, 40 per cent were still here after five years, and almost 75 per cent gained the right to settle
- Of those coming for Study, only 21 per cent remained in the UK after five years, with just three per cent gaining settlement rights.
- The report says nearly 3 out of 5 students had left the UK after only two years. Those who remained had validly extended their stay, either as students on longer courses, or as highly-skilled or shortage occupation workers, or had married a Briton.
It concludes: "the largest proportion of those granted settlement in 2009 had entered the UK via the work (leading to citizenship) route and the family route."
One section of the report also questions the assertion that too many migrants remain in the UK. It says: "a smaller number of migrants stay permanently in the UK than is commonly thought," and "it seems plausible that the vast majority of migrants granted non-visit visas in 2004…have probably left the UK."
Tony Millns commented: "There has been a complete misinterpretation of what this report actually shows. Misleading attacks on international students risk seriously damaging what is an export success story for the UK. International students bring over £10bn in foreign earnings to the UK each year, and thousands of UK jobs depend on them, not just in colleges but in local businesses from tourist attractions to taxi firms. Students are not in fact migrants, and international students contribute hugely to the UK."
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