A senior parliamentary committee wants to remove students from the net immigration figures – but research by Migration Watch UK shows almost 200,000 who claimed they were coming to Britain to study have in fact settled permanently over the last seven years.
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee contends that foreign students are only “temporary” migrants, and so called on the Government to exclude them from national migration statistics “for public policy purposes” – possibly an effort to make some nominal progress towards a long-standing goal of reducing the annual net inflow to “the tens of thousands”.
With net immigration running at near-record levels in the most recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) statistics, the Tories seem no nearer to meeting this target than they were in 2010 when they first received a mandate to enact border control.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne recently revealed that “[N]one of [the Cabinet’s] senior members supports the pledge in private,” and that the old David Cameron administration made a conscious decision not to act on it – despite officially remaining committed to it in public.
Still trust the Tories to keep their promise on Free Movement? https://t.co/oB641536C0
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 17, 2017
According to a Migration Watch UK report seen by Breitbart London, almost 200,000 grants of settlement have been issued to non-EU nationals who originally arrived in Britain via through the student route over the last seven years.
The think tank based their report on the findings of official Home Office analysis, which indicates that an average of 27,000 grants of settlement were made to people who arrived as students or student dependents each year from 2009 to 2015.
“There is no doubt that the statistics on the number of students who remain in the country should be improved and the government should make use of the available exit check data,” notes the statement accompanying the report.
“However, once we have an accurate picture of the contribution of students to net migration, they should remain in the target. Students have, after all, comprised half (600,000) of all non-EU inflow in the last five years, which has totalled 1.18 million.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 18, 2016
Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said:
“It would be absurd to remove students from the net migration target when close to 200,000 grants of settlement in recent years were to former students. Graduates are no doubt valuable to our economy but, with immigration driving our population at the fastest annual rate for nearly 70 years, we must have an honest assessment of the contribution of students who stay on.”
Thousands of migrants entered Britain illegally through hundreds of completely bogus colleges and universities, although rules have been tightened in recent years.