International students are not a Brexit political football

Tuesday 25-04-2017 - 15:00

Today the Education Select Committee published a report on the impact of Brexit on universities and Higher Education. 

This report adds further weight to calls in Parliament, from students and throughout the education sector for international students to be removed from net migration targets. 

A key recommendation of Education Select Committee Report was to remove international students from the net migration target:

The Government’s refusal to do so is putting at risk the higher education sector’s share of the international student market. Removing international students from the target would be a simple way to offset some of the risks from leaving the European Union.”

In January, NUS was invited by the Committee to give evidence for the inquiry and to share the hopes and fears of the UKs students in a post-Brexit Britain. Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President (Higher Education), called for international students to not be continually used as a “political football” in the UK’s debate on immigration.

We are delighted that the Education Committee has listened to our concerns, and that the student voice has been heard in the adoption of this recommendation – a recommendation that students have supported for years. We are also pleased that the Committee has cited NUS research into how welcome international students feel in the UK as evidence used in reaching its position and, just last week NUS launched new research into how much UK students value their international peers in Parliament.

Sorana Vieru, Vice President (Higher Education), said:

“For too long, international students have been mistreated by hostile immigration policies that make them feel unwelcome in the UK. It has been too easy for them to become a political football because of their inclusion in net migration targets, which is no more than a blunt tool. NUS is delighted that the Education Select Committee has joined students and the higher education sector in overwhelmingly calling for these students to be removed from these targets.

This week, the Government has an unprecedented opportunity to take decisive action in removing international students from net migration targets when the Higher Education and Research Bill inevitably returns to Parliament before it dissolves. This is the time that the Government should listen to the clear message from students, from the sector – and now from a prestigious Parliamentary Committee – that this is the right thing to do.”

We now need to ensure that International students are removed from net migration figures, and have just a matter of days to contact as many MPs as possible and make sure that students' voices are heard when the HE Bill returns to Parliament.

Download our full guide for students’ unions lobbying MPs over the HE Bill. 

Here's how students and students' unions can contact their MPs:

1. Meet your MP if they have a 'surgery' in their consitituency tomorrow

2. Call your MP

  • Find your MP's phone number here.
  • Send a follow-up email based on our briefing.


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