I am delighted that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced that he will accept an amendment to the latest Immigration Bill that I tabled along with the former Conservative Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP.
Our amendment aims to boost international student recruitment by restoring post-study visas for international students allowing them to stay in the UK and work for two years after graduation. It has attracted significant cross-party support across the House, which the Home Secretary has recognised. It will boost our universities, help local economies and enhance our global reach.
I have been campaigning for past seven years for this change and to remove overseas students from the Government’s net migration targets, which are needed to reverse the decline in the UK’s market share of international students. I have highlighted the benefits to Sheffield, calculated at more than £120 million in 2014, and now estimated at closer to £200 million, as illustrating the value to the country as a whole.
This provides great opportunities for both of Sheffield’s outstanding universities. International students make a huge net contribution to our economy, but the Government’s restrictive and short-sighted immigration policy has seen our market share fall from 12% in 2010 to 8% in 2016. I am confident that these changes will help to reverse that decline.