I’ve called for the Government to develop an ambitious policy for international student recruitment following the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report published this week.
I co-chair the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Students with Lord Bilimoria. Other Officers of the APPG include former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan MP and former Universities Minister Lord Willetts. We welcomed the report’s recognition that international students bring significant economic, social and cultural benefits to all parts of the UK. But the MAC highlights our concern that the UK is losing students to competitor countries, so we are proposing a strategy to increase recruitment.
We were disappointed that the report recommends international students continue to be counted in net migration statistics, which we accept, but failed to say that they should be removed from the Government’s target on net migration which frames migration policy. We propose a new target to increase international student numbers with new policies, including widening opportunities for post-study work, to back it. The general public overwhelmingly recognise the specific value of international students to the UK, with polling published last week showing that three-quarters of British adults would like to see the same or more international students in the UK when made aware of their economic benefits.
The International Students APPG is currently conducting an inquiry into building a sustainable future for international students in the UK, which is looking at the impact of overseas students to the education sector as a whole, and all regions and nations of the UK.