Home Office refuses to rule out int’l restrictions
The Home Office has refused to rule out the possibility that it will implement a policy to restrict the number of international students coming into the country.
During a recent session in parliament, John McNally, the SNP MP for the Falkirk Constituency asked education minister Robert Halfon whether he could confirm on the record that the government would not introduce an “illogical policy” designed to restrict foreign students.
“International students, as we know, inject billions into our economy, bring huge value to our campuses and enrich our wider society.
“Therefore, can the minister confirm on the record that the government will not introduce an illogical policy designed to restrict foreign students?” McNally asked during the session.
In his response, Halfon highlighted that the UK’s target is currently 600,000 international students per year – and that currently the country has around 680,000 students. He added that the target remains.
However, he noted that visa matters, such as those relating to any restrictions on international students, are for the Home Office to decide.
The PIE News asked the Home Office to confirm whether the government would introduce a policy to restrict the number of international students coming into the country.
“Our points-based system is designed to be flexible according to the UK’s needs – including attracting top class talent from across the world to contribute to the UK’s excellent academic reputation and to help keep our universities competitive on the world stage,” a spokesperson said.
“We keep all our immigration policies under constant review”
The government has been said to be considering limiting dependant visas as the number of students who brought family members to the country with them increased by almost 30% in 2022.
In February this year, The Times reported that the spouses and children of international students could be barred from the UK unless the students were studying “high-value” degrees.
These courses would have to be considered to be of a high value to the economy under the plans, such as STEM subjects like science, maths and engineering.
The UK continues to be a popular choice for international students. In 2022, the UK hit its 600,000 international student target 10 years early.
And earlier this year data showed that Chinese, Indian and Nigerian students drove the international student population of the UK in the 2021/22 academic year with numbers rising to almost 680,000 in that year.
The figures from HESA showed that Chinese students made the largest cohort of non-UK students, reaching a total of 151,690 in 2021/22.
The organisation also noted that the overall number of students from India stood at 126,535, a rise of 50% compared with the previous year when UK institutions hosted 84,555 students from the country.
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