‘Providing a fast-tracked citizenship route for the super-rich, while alarming the education sector on restrictions to international students, indicates a faulty policy."
24th March 2011: Chairman of the home affairs select committee Keith Vaz MP has called for a proper debate on immigration rather than rushing into major policy changes.
In a letter carried by The Guardian, Vaz asserted the decision to provide a fast-tracked citizenship route for the super-rich, while alarming the education sector on restrictions to international students, indicates a faulty policy.
His assertion follows the Government’s decision that foreigners can settle faster in the UK by investing large sums of money.
The government has, in fact, rolled out a `red carpet’ for them. They are being given an extra incentive to come to the UK by new visa rules, which reward those contributing to economic growth.
Under changes to the Immigration Rules laid in Parliament, people coming to the UK under Tier 1 (Investor) of the points-based system will be able to settle here faster, if they invest large sums of money.
Those investing £5 million will be allowed to settle here after three years, and those investing £10 million or more will be allowed to settle after two years. This compares with the current minimum 5-year requirement.
At the same time, the Government has announced changes in the student visa system. It is estimated that these measures would lead to a fall in student visas of about 70 – 80,000.
Vaz has asserted students, unlike those being invited in by the government, are not migrants. A majority of them leave once their education is complete. If they are to be open to the best, this should not be based on the size of the bank account.
As the home affairs select committee report on student visas just published concludes, limiting genuine international students could damage Britain’s reputation as an international education hub.
Vaz said it was time the government recognised the price it would pay, if it did not think carefully about all those that contribute to Britain’s success at home and abroad. The opposition should engage in this debate, not shun it.