By Claire West
In a report published yesterday — ‘Overseas Students and Net Migration’ - the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has called on the Government to record overseas students under a classification that does not count against the overall limit on net migration in order to allow the UK to continue to expand its share of the overseas student market.
Commenting on the publication of the report, the Chairman of the Business, Innovation and Skill Committee, Adrian Bailey MP, said:
"UK Universities are rightly seen as world leaders in higher education and attract bright students from across the world.
Many of these students contribute significantly to our economy as well as to our reputation as a world-class place to do business.i
The Committee notes the Government’s desire to reduce net migration. However, there is a clear conflict between this policy and the desire to attract more overseas students to the UK.
Moreover, the way in which the policy has been implemented and measured is clearly having a detrimental impact on the UK’s ability to expand our share of the overseas student market.
At a time of such economic difficulty, it is vital that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills demonstrates it has an active strategy to support the expansion of this important and lucrative market.
The Committee argues that, for domestic policy purposes, overseas students should be recorded under a separate classification and not be counted against the overall limit on net migration, along similar lines to the United States.
This would demonstrate clearly that the UK remains open to overseas students and values the economic and intellectual contribution they make whilst studying here."
Bogus students and colleges
"The Committee supports the Government’s policy to remove bogus students and colleges from our Higher Education system.
However, the way in which this policy is communicated must be handled carefully to ensure it does not give the impression that the UK no longer welcomes genuine students."