Entrepreneur and inventor Sir James Dyson has criticised the Government’s plans to kick overseas students out of the UK on completion of their education.
The vacuum-cleaning tycoon said that Home Secretary Theresa May’s aim of changing the UK visa system so graduates could not stay and work Britain was short sighted.
Writing in The Guardian, he said the policy was a “short-term vote winner that leads to long-term economic decline” and warned that the UK would lose people capable of making scientific and engineering breakthroughs. Ultimately, he warned, this would lead to a loss of income for the country.
Sir James wrote: “Our borders must remain open to the world’s best. Give them our knowledge, allow them to develop their own and permit them to apply it on our shores. Their ideas and inventiveness will create technology to export around the world.”
He also argued that students who returned to their home nations would simply create greater economic competition for the UK by using their talents to benefit their own countries rather than Britain. And he pointed to the skills shortage the UK is already facing which means that companies such as his own have moved their manufacturing bases abroad.
“Sending them home with new technology developed here presents very good value to our competitor nations,” wrote Sir James.
“Instead, our education system should be a tool to import the world’s greatest minds. And, most importantly, to keep them here, so our economy – and our culture – benefits.”
Sir James said there are currently around 200,000 overseas students researching technology at UK universities, who would be lost to Britain if Mrs May presses ahead with her plans.