A report being collated by the Home Office into how many overseas students overstay their UK visas reportedly says just one per cent do.
Data from the report, which was leaked to The Times, has not been shared with other Government departments or published. The Home Office said there was no ‘secret’ report and that it did not recognise the one per cent figure.
A spokesman told The PIE News: “We are continuing to analyse the data collected since exit checks were introduced to ensure that it is statistically robust.”
However, it has not released the report despite Freedom of Information requests. The information leaked to The Times suggests that the figure for overstaying international students is much lower than the data that ministers have used to argue thousands of students are remaining in the UK after their student visa has expired.
The paper said that round 1,500 overseas students a year may be overstaying. But in a statement, the Home Office said the amount of data it required for the statistics to be robust is not yet available. It intends to use the report to inform the Government on visas and immigration routes that are being abused.
This will be used in future regulations on immigration. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has already suggested that she plans to make it more difficult for international students to enter the UK through a number of measures.
Overseas students have been the target of numerous measures to tighten immigration rules in recent years, including the removal of the right to stay in the UK to seek employment at the end of their studies.
IPPR has already questioned the figures currently being used, which come from the International Passenger Survey. It said that it’s likely the Government is overestimating how many international students fail to return home on completion of their studies.