1. There is no limit to the number of genuine international students who can come to the UK to study. An unlimited number can also stay on and work so long as they can find graduate level work paying £20,000 a year.
2. Students are counted in the UK’s net migration statistics, as they are in our main competitor countries – the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. These competitors also report students in separate administrative visa statistics, as does the UK.
3. Students account for more than half of non EU arrivals so it is important that they remain in the net migration statistics. They are counted by a survey when they depart as well as when they arrive so their inclusion in net migration should not be a problem unless, of course, a large number of students are not going home. Over the past two years students have departed at just a third of the rate that they arrived – so a significant number students seem to be either staying on legally for work or for marriage, or illegally. Data for further years will clarify this.
To read the full briefing paper click here.