Education’s link to UK immigration under the spotlight

21 Aug 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Government is investigating whether migrants are bringing their families to the UK because of the free state school system.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has ordered a review to find out how attractive the UK’s education system is to people seeking to move from other parts of the European Union and immigrants from elsewhere seeking a UK visa.

She has already ordered an investigation into the effects of migration on state schools, in order to help teachers with the education needs of young children who do not speak English. But now the review is to be widened to find out whether the UK’s free education system is itself a draw for migrating families.

A source told the Daily Telegraph: “It is important for every Government department to play their part in tackling immigration. As we have a cross-Governmental focus on reducing immigration and tackling illegal immigration, it is right that we look at what role the education system is playing, not just in terms of the impact but also as a factor in attracting people to this country in the first place.”

The Government is also expected to take action to cut the number of overseas students coming to the UK for university courses. It follows claims that some universities are promoting their courses abroad as a route into the UK jobs market.

One of the approaches being considered is preventing the children and spouses of overseas post-grad students from taking unskilled jobs while they are in the UK. In addition, international students could be asked for proof that they have enough funds for the duration of their course before they are granted a student visa.

It is expected that around 800,000 international students will be studying in the UK within the next five years. Around eight out of 10 are keen to remain in the country at the end of their courses.