Government advisors debunk Tory narrative on international students

The Government’s immigration advisory body has found there is no evidence of foreign students abusing UK graduate visas, despite Tory claims that the route is being exploited.

The review, carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on behalf of the Government, concluded that there is no evidence of widespread abuse of the UK’s two-year graduate visa, and recommended that it should remain in place. 

Their intervention comes after repeated claims from senior Conservatives that the route is being exploited as a backdoor immigration route to the UK. 

The report was published a day after it was revealed that international student deposits - a key indicator of future enrolments - have plummeted after Sunak’s decision to restrict visas that allow students to bring their family members to the UK.

This is a real problem for UK universities, many of which get most of their fees from foreign students. Analysis by the Times showed that the Russell Group of universities get 57% of their fee income from overseas. Without this funding, John Rushforth, Executive Secretary of the Committee of University Chairs, said “bankruptcy is a realistic possibility”. 

Best for Britain campaigns for a reciprocal  UK-EU Youth Mobility Visa scheme and the rejoining of Erasmus+. 

Tom Brufatto, Director of Policy and Research at Best for Britain said,

“International students turning their backs on the UK shows how the Government's visa policy continues to damage the UK’s reputation as a global cultural, research and innovation hub. 

“Without the income from overseas students, some of our universities face bankruptcy. The next Government must be honest with the public, that migration is not only beneficial but necessary. They must reverse this dogmatic and counterproductive stance.”