In a written response to the Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) committee the government has made it clear that the immigration reforms were working as intended.
The Home Office has written to the BIS committee today, highlighting the fact that the government’s immigration policies were having the right effect, bringing UK immigration under control but continuing to attract bright, talented students from overseas who want to study at the UKs world class universities.
While the net migration has seen a fall to its lowest level for a decade, the number of sponsored visa applications for universities rose by 5% in the year to March 2013 and UCAS statistics demonstrate that applications for the 2013 intake were 5.5% higher than they were last year. The UK’s top universities also saw a boost of 6% in 2011/12.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said the UK was open for business to the brightest and the best migrants who contribute to economic growth.
He said the system which the present government had inherited was neither controlled immigration nor protected legitimate students from poor quality sponsors. That was the reason why the government had introduced a selective system that worked in the national interest while reducing abuse of UK immigration system.
Net migration was now at its lowest level for a decade and it was well on its way towards reducing immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.
The response also stated why it was important that students remain in the calculation for net migration. The students were not temporary visitors they were having impact on the communities, public services and infrastructure it added.
There is no limit on the number of international students that can come to the UK. Nor is there any limit on the number who can stay and work in the UK at the end of their studies as they get a graduate job the response summarised.