After the publication of last weeks net migration statistics, ministers are apparently in an internal battle to finalise proposals for reducing immigration numbers to the UK.
The shadow home secretary secured an urgent question challenging the government on their handling of the issue. I used the opportunity to press for the exclusion of international students from net migration statistics. You can read our exchange here or watch our exchange below:
“International students contribute £42 billion annually to the UK. They are vital to the economies of towns and cities across the country. Most return home after their course. Those who do not are granted a visa for further study or a skilled workers visa, because we want them in the country. Students are not migrants. The public do not consider them to be migrants. Is it not time we took them out of the net migration numbers and brought our position into line with our competitors, such as the United States, whose Department of Homeland Security, as the arm of Government responsible for migration policy, does not count students in its numbers?”