English UK welcomes think-tank's conclusion that international students should not count as migrants
14 May 2012

English UK welcomes a report which recommends that the Government should not class international students as migrants.

Instead, the Institute for Public Policy Research suggests that students should only count in the migration statistics if at the end of their course they manage to get a new visa to work or settle permanently in the UK. This would allow a clearer focus on controlling long-term net migration for permanent settlement, and avoid the "real and damaging consequences" for the UK education sector and the wider economy of current Government policies on student visas.

The IPPR report, International Students and Net Migration in the UK, points out that the UK's three main competitors for international students -- the US, Australia and Canada -- choose to classify them as temporary migrants.

Tony Millns, chief executive of English UK, said: "This report demonstrates that the Government's decision to count students as migrants is damaging the UK's international education business -- a £10bn economic powerhouse – in pursuit of the unachievable objective of reducing 'net migration' to the 'tens of thousands'.  International students take a course here and almost all of them leave within 5 years and go home.

 "People in the UK are intelligent enough to see international students as quite different from true migrants who come here for work and family reasons, aiming to settle permanently and adding to the UK's population.  It is this long-term migration that people are concerned about, and rightly want the Government to do something to control and reduce."

"If the USA, Canada and Australia can treat students differently, so can -- and should -- the UK.  Otherwise, we stand to lose out when the UK has great potential to earn more for our struggling economy from growth in international education. The brightest and the best want to come here to study, but the Government is stopping them for short-term political reasons."

The full report is available here.

To read a comment piece in the Financial Times on the report (you may have to register) click here.


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