“For years Theresa May has stubbornly refused to accept that international students are not immigrants, while the Home Office has wildly exaggerated the number of those who overstay,” said Mr Cable.
Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable welcomes reports on the government move to remove foreign students from the official immigration figures.
“For years Theresa May has stubbornly refused to accept that international students are not immigrants, while the Home Office has wildly exaggerated the number of those who overstay,” said Mr Cable. He was responding to reports that May will be forced into dropping foreign students from official immigration figures. “This absurd policy has fuelled concerns over immigration numbers and done serious damage to our universities. It’s about time the government dropped this completely self-harming approach.
“International students generate over £25 billion for our economy and support thousands of jobs across the country. We should be encouraging more students to come and spend their money in the UK, instead of needlessly hampering one of Britain’s most successful export industries.”
As Home Secretary, May led a crackdown on students overstaying their visas, but her claim that up to 100,000 foreign students a year fail return home after graduating has since been discredited as official exit checks found that fewer than 5,000 people remained after their visas expired.
Earlier, Peers backed a change to exclude foreign students from immigration numbers in a House of Lords amendment to the Higher Education Bill last year, but the move was scuppered by the snap election. The prime minister could be vulnerable to a Commons defeat on the issue if an MP tables an amendment to the Immigration Bill – after she lost her parliamentary majority in the June poll.