The University and College Union (UCU) has responded to immigration proposals set out in the Conservative Election Manifesto.
The Conservative Party Manifesto proposes to continue to include international students in net migration targets and toughen visa rules.
In response to the publication of the Manifesto, University and College Union general secretary, Sally Hunt, said:
“International staff and students make a hugely valuable contribution to our universities and colleges – but the Conservative Party's unhelpful stance on reducing net migration and toughening student visa rules sends a negative message that overseas talent is not welcome in the UK.
“Instead of pulling up the drawbridge, the next government needs to ensure that the UK remains an attractive destination for academics and students from around the world.
“They should start by immediately guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals currently working and studying here, rather than using them as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations.”
In 2014, former Conservative minister Lord Heseltine called for overseas students to be excluded from net migration figures, saying that he did not believe the UK population considered them to be migrants and citing the “huge financial stability” they brought to British universities.
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