"Stopping the clamp down on foreign student numbers".

September 2, 2017 12:52 PM
By Marko Scepanovic; Chair of Crawley Liberal Democrats

New data published by the Office for National Statistics and recently introduced exit checks at our borders highlighted flaws in the government's thinking over limiting student numbers from those coming outside of the EU.

In particular it was shown that the statistics used by Theresa May whilst Home Secretary, and in forming recent immigration policies, were inaccurate.

The number of foreign students who Theresa May claimed stayed after their visa expired was exaggerated by around 96%. It was estimated in previous years that close to 100,000 overstayed, but in reality the number is closer to 4,600.

These mistakes can have huge repercussions on the UK's scientific base, and the potential for our universities to attract internationally renowned talent because the easy reaction is to restrict the flow of foreign students.

Our immigration policy regarding student numbers must be based on demand in industry and other professions, including academia rather than emotional rhetoric and misleading data.

The debate over immigration has been misleading and severely lacking in facts. In addressing the inaccuracies presented by parts of the media, and those in the political spotlight, we can stop further embarrassment at home and abroad by kneejerk policies and decision.