Statement on students in net migration targets

27 April 2017

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Following the failure to adopt the amendment to keep students out of net migration targets in the Higher Education and Research Bill, the Campaign has issued the following statement:

We are disappointed that the Government has not adopted the amendment to the Higher Education and Research Bill that would have removed international students from the UK Government’s net migration target, a step long advocated by the Campaign because of the valuable economic and intellectual contribution international students make to the UK. International students remain a vital component of the fiscal health and intellectual vibrancy of UK universities, benefitting the wider UK economy and stimulating regional growth.

Regardless of whether or not international students are included in UK net migration figures, we encourage any future UK Prime Minister and government to adopt a visa regime and policy that both welcomes and attracts international students to a post-Brexit Britain. We welcome the 21 April announcement by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy that ‘EU students applying for university places in the 2018 to 2019 academic year will remain eligible for financial support.’ However, we recognise that there are many different barriers that might dissuade international students from choosing UK institutions for their educational needs – ranging from an unwelcoming environment to a difficult visa application process or an overly restrictive migration regime. Given the importance of international students to the UK’s success, future government policy will need to embrace and foster their continued contribution to our prosperity and society.