Immigration news – report into international student numbers highlights the benefits to the UK of overseas students choosing to study in the UK
In a recent report The All Party Parliamentary Group for international students has called for:
• The removal of students from UK Immigration targets;
• A target to grow international student numbers;
• The implementation of a post-study work visa to allow international students up to two years of work experience in the UK;
• An EU Brexit deal that provides students and researchers with unrestricted movement;
• The export earnings from students and education to be included in trade strategy;
• Employment support for international students in their countries of origin.
top London immigration solicitors have welcomed the report and the acknowledgment in the report that overseas students bring many benefits to the UK. Some of the best London immigration solicitors blame current Immigration policies on the failure to increase international student numbers in the UK with it being said that overseas students are electing to choose to study in America, Canada and Australia, instead of the UK. As a result the UK is missing out on the economic, social and cultural benefits of encouraging international students to opt to study in the UK.
The foreword to the All Party Parliamentary Group for international students report by the co-chairmen, Paul Blomfield MP and Lord Bilimoria, highlights the billions in export earnings that international students provide as well as the “vitality and tremendous cultural contributions to our campuses and communities" that overseas students add.
The report emphasises that changes in Immigration policies, such as the 2012 ending of post-study work visas, have added to the reasons why overseas students are choosing to study in what are in effect competitor countries. In this context America, Canada and Australia are all competing for the lucrative international student market given the economic benefits to a country of attracting international students to study at its universities and colleges.
The student statistics
• More than 750,000 international students come to study in the UK each year – the figure of 750,000 overseas students includes university undergraduates and postgraduate students as well as private school pupils, further education establishment attendees and language students. Some of these students will be enrolled on short courses, others on 3 year courses and some might move on to work visas;
• International students bring a reported £26 billion into the UK economy;
• According to the business group, London First , overseas students bring in about £2.3 billion into the London economy each year;
• The total number of overseas students opting to study in the UK has increased by about 3% in the past decade ;
• The total number of overseas students opting to study in America in the past decade has increased by 40%. The corresponding figure for Australia is a 45% increase. For Canada the statistics show a 57% increase;
• In July 2018 a study from University College London revealed that whilst America remains the biggest student recruiter, the UK's long established position as the second biggest recruiter is being lost to Australia;
• China remains the biggest source of international students coming to the UK to study with the figure put at about 95,000 students;
• There are about 17,000 students from India in the UK but it is said that the number of students from India opting to study in the UK has halved in the last five years;
• Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group of universities, reports that almost a third of their students are from overseas.
The Migration Advisory Committee report
The independent Migration Advisory Committee has said that overseas students in the UK should not be removed from targets to reduce migration on the basis that there is no clear case to support such a change in Immigration policy. This coincides with the prime minister’s expressed views on not removing students from net migration targets.
One positive, from the perspective of top London immigration solicitors, is that the report calls for an easier move into work for overseas students. However the report does not go so far as to recommend a change to Immigration rules and the creation of a new post student work visa.
The government response
A government spokesperson said that The All Party Parliamentary Group for international students report would be considered together with the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee.
Post study work visas for students
Until 2012 international graduate students could apply for a post study visa enabling them to stay in the UK to work for 2 years. This was abolished as a result of fears about student over stayers increasing illegal Immigration into the UK.
In contrast to the UK policy, America and Canada allow overseas students to stay in the country for 3 years after their graduation. Australia has the most generous policy with graduates able to stay in Australia for up to 4 years post-graduation. In the view of top London immigration solicitors the post graduate policies in America, Canada and Australia is information perhaps goes some way to explain why these 3 countries are real competition to the UK in attracting the lucrative overseas students on study visas. Universities UK says that their research in countries such as India has established that work opportunities post-graduation are an important attraction for Indian students when choosing an overseas country to study in.
Graduates are currently eligible to stay in the UK once they graduate if:
• They get graduate level jobs with a salary of at least £20,800 or an internship; and
• The Employment must be secured within 4 months of the completion of the course; or
• The graduate is able to find sponsorship as an entrepreneur ; or
• If the student completed a PhD they can stay an extra year to set up as entrepreneurs or to gain work experience.
Universities UK has called for a more welcoming approach to international students, particularly calling for a change in Immigration Rules so they would be treated separately from other migrants by not forming part of quotas and by giving international students the right to stay and work in the UK when they complete their courses. In effect University UK is calling for a return to the Immigration system that was in force prior to the rules change in 2012.
The publicity about international students emphasises the importance of overseas students to the national economy and to the economy of the capital, London. The reports also highlight the need for international students to take early proactive advice from the best London immigration solicitors on the current Immigration Rules and how those rules may affect them and the options available to them with expert Immigration legal advice.
OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration law matters. The firm is recommended for Immigration law in the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration law. For more information on students and Immigration law or any alternative aspect of personal or business immigration law please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.