News story

The government sets record straight on students and net migration

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A written response to the Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) committee makes clear that immigration reforms are working as intended.

The Home Office has written to the BIS committee today, highlighting the fact the government’s immigration policies are having the right effect – bringing immigration under control but continuing to attract bright, talented students from overseas who want to study at the UK’s world-class universities.

International students

While net migration has fallen to its lowest level for a decade, the number of sponsored visa applications for universities rose by 5% in the year to March 2013 and UCAS statistics demonstrate that applications for the 2013 intake are 5.5% higher than they were last year. The UK’s top universities also saw a boost of 6% in 2011/12.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:

The UK is open for business to the brightest and best migrants who contribute to economic growth.

The system we inherited neither controlled immigration nor protected legitimate students from poor quality sponsors. That’s why we introduced a more selective system that works in our national interest while cutting out abuse.

Net migration is now at its lowest level for a decade and we are well on our way to reducing immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands

The response to BIS committee also explained why it is important that students remain in the calculation for net migration. Students are not temporary visitors; they have an impact on communities, public services and infrastructure.

Open for business

There is no limit on the number of international students that can come to the UK. Nor is there any limit on the number who can stay and work in the UK at the end of their studies as they get a graduate job.