News
Nicola Hancox, Editor of StudyTravel Magazine
Opinion... from the Editor

Yet more pressure is being put on UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, to remove overseas students from net migration figures.

 

Earlier this year MPs from both major political parties clubbed together to warn her that her refusal to do so would do irreparable damage to the UK's internationally competitive university sector. This has now escalated to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee (EAC), whose broad remit is to examine matters that affect the UK economy.

 

In its report on Brexit and the Labour Market, the EAC stated that government would struggle to control immigration post-Brexit unless major improvements were made to the quality of migration data upon which it currently relies.

 

For example, the International Passenger Survey (IPS). Running continuously since 1961, the IPS collects information about passengers entering and leaving the UK from major UK transport hubs and the Office of National Statistics estimates it interviews between 700,000 and 800,000 passengers annually. However, as the EAC's report highlights, immigrants or emigrants represent a very small proportion (around 4,000-5,000) and international students must account for an even smaller percentage within this. 


This is by no means an effective way to monitor the number of international students staying on at the end of their degree, nor should it be used to form policy, and other avenues should surely be explored. As Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, EAC Chairman, points out, the government is effectively making important decisions that will impinge on the country's economy (international students contribute billions of pounds to the UK economy every year) with the lights off.

 

Just how much sway this report will have on policymaking remains to be seen. An amendment to the Higher Education Research Act, submitted by the House of Lords earlier this year, would have seen international students removed from migration data, but was rejected by government. Even when presented with all the facts, government seems committed to marching to its own drum.

 

As if we needed evidence of just how appealing the UK is as a study destination, we bring you news this week of a World Record attempt by English UK London member schools for the largest number of student nationalities participating in a single language lesson. "This world record attempt is a great way to demonstrate that London is open to students from all over the world," said Lalage Clay, Head of Education at Study London, and goes some way to allay fears Brexit has caused the capital's economy to 'wobble'.

 

This week's news also contains the much-anticipated 2017 shortlist for the StudyTravel Star Awards! There are some new contenders this year, not to mention a brand new awards category. Well done to all those nominated. We cannot wait to celebrate with you all in...37 days and counting....36....35...34!


 
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Nicola Hancox
Editor