How are the UK government addressing international students?
Jo Johnson, in his first speech as universities and science minister cited the economic and social value brought to the UK by international students. He expressed concern at students being made to feel unwelcome.
In the past year, more than 19,000 international students were told to leave the UK or refused entry in government’s crackdown on allegations of language qualification fraud. From these, for the year to April 2015, it has been discovered that 900 were held in detention centres after being served with removal notice.
Johnson stated it was “right that we have reformed the student visa system to ensure that students who are not genuine cannot abuse the system. And we will take proportionate action to deal with overstaying wherever our new system of exit checks shows it to be an issue.”
Johnson added he was “concerned that some feel the UK does not welcome students as warmly as we once did and that there has been a decline of student numbers from some of our key partners, most notably India” The number of Indian students coming to the UK fell from 18,535 in 2010-11 to 10,235 in 2012-2013.
With the immigration bill changing “deport first, appeal later” from criminal cases to all immigration cases, if passed, the policy could affect students too and universities are worried that the reduction in the number of students coming to the UK from key countries will continue, given rhetoric, and the continued inclusion of students from net migration figures.