Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that the Conservative Party intends to reduce net migration to below 100,000 per year has been called unfair by international students.
The target is included under an array of plans which are focused on creating “A country that comes together.” The manifesto explicitly states that “overseas students will remain in the immigration statistics”, in keeping with international definitions.
The party say that to achieve this reduction they will aim to “bear down on immigration from outside the European Union,” and to generally “toughen visa requirements for students.”
Since its release, this policy has received criticism from students and academics across the country. This is because the expected fall in the number of foreign students gaining places at UK universities may seriously impact the economy and the status of UK universities.
Jean Roeting, President of the International Students’ Society (ISS) at UEA said: “This will impact the economic growth of universities, because international students pay more than nationals.
“I think it is unfair to restrict access to international students, as they come to learn and pay the price for it. They also contribute to other areas of the economy.”
At UEA, international students currently make up 18.7 percent of the total student body, just under the national average of 19 percent.
SU International Students Officer Malaika Jaovisidha called the policy a “disgrace.” She described international students as “vital to the UK economy” alongside “benefiting the country socially” through cultural diversity.
Miss Jaovisidha told Concrete: “As there are rumours that the Home Office is sitting on research that proves that the extent of ‘overstaying’ is massively overstated, it’s also unnecessary.
“We’ll be working with NUS to campaign to stop proposals which include ratcheting up the immigration health charge to £450 which will leave many international students in hardship.”
A recent study commissioned by Universities UK found that from 2014-15 a total of 437,000 international students helped generate £25.8 billion for the UK economy, and supported more than 200,000 jobs.
The Conservative Party have also announced that they “will expect students to leave the country at the end of their course, unless they meet new, higher requirements that allow them to work in Britain after their studies have concluded.”
However, another survey conducted for Universities UK found that 47 percent of respondents suggested that there should be no limit on the length of time international students are allowed to stay in the UK after they graduate.