Response to announcement on international student figures

Thursday 24-08-2017 - 15:00

Today saw the border control exit check data published and the government's announcement on an investigation into the social and economic impact of international students in the UK. Our International Students' Officer Yinbo Yu responded.

Responding to the annoucements today Yinbo Yu said:

"Today saw the release of new exit check data is evidence that fewer international students are overstaying on their study visas. It was cited in the Second report on statistics being collected under the exit checks programme that 97.4% of international students left the UK on time after finishing their studies. The past few years have seen dozens of inflammatory stories and outright miscalculations suggesting that thousands of migrants were remaining in the country ‘illegally’ and exploiting the system. It is clear that what we have been saying for years is in fact true – international students are not trying to exploit the immigration system, nor are they a drain on the UK (in fact the opposite is the case). Rhetoric about the UK being flooded with students who are intending to overstay their visas are simply unfounded and another scapegoat to reduce net immigration figures.


To coincide with the findings this morning the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has commissioned the Migration Advisory Commission to carry out a detailed study on overseas students looking at the social and economic impact of international students in the UK. We welcome the review and are confident that it will reveal what NUS and others have been saying for years; international students bring many cultural and economic benefits to this country and it should be as accessible and attractive as possible for students from other countries to come to the UK to study.


International students need to feel welcome in our institutions now and post-Brexit. This must start with government policy – removing them from net migration figures is imperative. Low number of student overstayers and the role international students play in economic growth suggest no reason to continue with this restrictive regime that puts international students off from studying here. The government and policy makers must understand the true value of international students, and we hope that this investigation is the first step to doing so."


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