UK: International students shouldn't be included in migration target
Amber Rudd, the UK Home Secretary, is pushing for removal of international students in migration totals. Source: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The United Kingdom’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd is pushing for international students to be removed from the government’s reduced immigration target.

Rudd believes this is necessary to prevent the government being defeated when the House of Commons discusses a post-Brexit immigration regime, according to The Financial Times.

However, this contradicts the Prime Minister Theresa May’s impression that students should be counted in the net migration total, as they are considered migrants by the textbook definition of the term.

But Rudd hopes the PM will reconsider her stance after the success of May’s reformation of exploitative student visas when she was home secretary.

The Home Secretary has support from fellow politicians. The Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Business Secretary Greg Clark all back Rudd’s holding.

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrats’ Home Affairs Spokesman, told The Financial Times: “Amber Rudd should work to avoid her boss’s blushes by making the change herself before it ends in a showdown in the chamber.”

Academics are also in support of the removal of international students from the migration target, as this will reopen the talent pool for universities. More international students will feel able, and be able, to receive a world-class education and contribute to research projects.

“International students help create a diverse learning environment that benefits home students. The bonds international students make at university help boost UK soft power across the globe and they make a significant economic contribution too,” Sarah Stevens, head of policy at the Russell Group, told The Times Higher Education.

Chief executive of Universities UK, Alistair Jarvis said to The Financial Times: “If the UK wants to remain a top destination for international students and staff, we need a new immigration policy that encourages them to choose the UK.”

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