LibLink: Baroness Sally Hamwee – Sending overseas students home is “economic nonsense”

Writing on PoliticsHome, Baroness Sally Hamwee, describes the recently mooted Conservative plans to send overseas students home as “economic nonsense”, which risk the good reputation of the UK:

Around Christmas, it was reported that the Home Secretary proposed changing the immigration rules so that overseas students at UK universities who wanted to stay on to work would have to return home after graduation and apply from outside the UK.

It is widely acknowledged that the presence of overseas students is important. Their fees represent considerable income for the universities, but perhaps more significant is whether they feel welcomed by this country and how, as a consequence, their home countries regard the UK.

You can read the full article here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is currently taking a break from his role as one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • For once, I agree with Baroness Hamwee. Why would we wish to thwart one of our most successful export earners?

  • There are two aspects to this, which are most probably being confused due to the perceived need for tough soundbites. Firstly, there is the subject of student study visa’s and how long they should last. I suggest that in principle they should only last for the duration of a student’s studies at the establishment at which they were accepted at. From an education business perspective we want them to come, study, pay their fee’s and leave satisfied with the service they have received and fond memories of their time in the UK.

    In principle setting the expectation that holders of student visas will be required to leave the country on completion of their studies and hence they should have sufficient funds to do this isn’t a big issue, particularly as limiting the duration of stay is one of the purpose’s of visa’s.

    However, this leads us into the subject the wider UK economy and the potential benefit it could derive from these newly qualified individuals and whether it could gain greater benefit by facilitating a young person’s transition from student visa to work visa whilst remaining in the country. Currently as Baroness Hamwee acknowledges, there are schemes that permit new graduates to stay on, and from her comments there seems to be no desire (by the Coalition) to change these in any way – or are we missing something? Hence we are really talking about are those overseas (non-EU) students who fail to qualify for one of these schemes.

    So whilst I appreciate what Baroness Hamwee is saying, I think there is a need for clarity: yes you can stay in the UK after your studies but you need to satisfy these criteria, if not, sorry you cannot remain in the UK.

  • Helen Dudden 21st Jan '15 - 5:02pm

    Won’t the countries that they from benefit too?

    I thought that was the general idea.

  • Not for the first time – I agree with Sally Hamwee.

    One of the many former Richmond Borough Councillors who now sit in the HofL.
    Strange how there are no former Kingston Borough Councillors in the HofL – perhaps it was something we said.

  • suzanne fletcher 23rd Jan '15 - 5:25pm

    Sally is right (again!). encouraging overseas students to come here is “win, win, win”. our country universities gets the money to be able ot run succesful courses. students from the UK have the benefit of their perspective being broadened by the meeing, socialising and working with those from other countries. the country they are from has the benefit of not only an educated person eventually returning, but with a widened perspective and a respect for our country and its people.
    it is only a logical extension of this that a student can stay and work here, using their skills and knowledge gained whilst studying for the benefit of our country – but also more opportunities for more UK people to get to know and understand people from other parts of the world. most eventually return to country of origin, taking with them not only skills to help that country, but great memories of us. if you can think no further – in these days you never know when friends in other countries could be our salvation.
    PS cannot see John Tilley in ermine 🙂

  • suzanne fletcher 23rd Jan ’15 – 5:25pm

    “…students from the UK have the benefit of their perspective being broadened by the meeing, socialising and working with those from other countries.”

    Quite right, Suzanne. Friendships started as students often last a lifetime and are hugely beneficial all round. An education is so much more than cramming kids for exams.

    BTW — I am not sure if the Royal Borough of Kingston’s Aldermanic Robes include Ermine. I managed to resist the temptation to wear robes for the 16 years I was a councillor and since them for the 13 years I have been an Alderman.
    I did have an excellent badge produced on The Liberator Badge Machine in 1982 which said “Liberal Councillor” which I sometimes wore because it irritated the Tories no end. 🙂

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