Farron: Government doesn’t understand needs of universities or public perceptions of immigration

Universities UK has published the results of a poll carried out by ICM which shows that only a quarter of people think of foreign students as immigrants and that the vast majority of people think that foreign students make a valuable contribution and should be allowed to stay on to work here after graduation.

Two-thirds agreed that international students have a positive impact on the local economies of the towns and cities that they study in, and three in five (59%) agreed that their economic contribution helps create jobs.

The poll also indicated that seven in ten adults believe it is better if international students use their skills here and work in the UK for a period of time in order to contribute to the economy rather than returning immediately to their home country after completing their stud

 Almost half (47%) of those polled believed there should be no limit on how long international students should be able to stay and work in the UK after they have completed their study, providing they are employed and contributing to the economy.

Tim Farron had this to say about the poll:

This research shows that the government doesn’t understand the needs of our universities or the perceptions of the public. The Conservatives’ broken promise to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands was wrong and their blind drive to achieve it will do enormous  damage to our economy and institutions like universities.

“What these figures show is that most people in the country recognise the contribution international students make in coming to the UK for their studies, both financial and social. We have some of the best universities in the world and  we should want to attract the brightest students in the world to study at them.

The government must think again about their ludicrous clamp down on foreign students, reintroduce post study work visas, and stop coming up with gimmicky policies which are aimed at appealing to the right wing nationalists in the Conservative party and UKIP.

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7 Comments

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 14th Oct '16 - 12:16pm

    There is little point to a university that does not possess diversity of knowledge, understanding and experience and our international students provide this and much, much more.

    As a lecturer at a university I may well be considered as biased, but the benefits of international students seem pretty obvious to me.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera

  • Richard Underhill 14th Oct '16 - 12:23pm

    The heir to the throne of Jordan came to the UK as a student. As King he was an influential force for peace in this troubled region and a crucial intermediary with Arafat.

  • There is no problem with foreign students. The actual crackdown is on bogus universities, who were offering bogus students, fake courses as a ruse to enter the UK under false pretences.
    But of course Tim knew that, which is all the more reason to wonder why he’s ever-ready to shoot holes in his own credibility, by making obvious fake arguments.?

  • Andrew McCaig 14th Oct '16 - 3:21pm

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/theresa-may-hides-report-on-immigration-and-international-students-2016-10

    This report suggests the government ideas about students staying on are highly flawed.. Most students do not stay on and do not want to, and therefore do not contribute to net migration at all…
    Of course what they do often do is become influential people in business or government at home, and favour the country where they went to university. But this soft benefit is far too long term to concern a Tory government. Many of our competitor countries around the world see the discouraging signals to overseas students which Theresa May has been sending since 2010, and are targeting the student market accordingly

  • Perhaps this poll is evidence that the British public are not quite as xenophobic as some LDV writers think.

  • J Dunn – you are quite wrong. Theresa May has been sending out clear messages to overseas students since she became Home Secretary that she is anti foreign students. She continues as PM to make it more and more difficult for genuine universities to recruit and her negativity has caused such offence in India that there has been a sharp reduction in Indian students coming here.

  • suzanne fletcher 15th Oct '16 - 1:34pm

    to add to what others say – it is even of benefit to our UK students as many courses would not be able to run if it were not for the number of “foreign” students coming and paying for courses

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