Home secretary Amber Rudd has called for international student numbers to be removed from the government’s UK immigration target.
According to a number of reports, Rudd is heading up a new Cabinet drive to remove students from net migration targets in an attempt to prevent a defeat in the House of Commons when the bill to set up a new UK immigration system following Brexit.
Amber Rudd has also suggested that Prime Minister Theresa May should consider the removal of students due to the success of a reform that was specifically designed to prevent the abuse of UK visas for students.
So far, a number of Rudd’s colleagues have offered their support, including chancellor Philip Hammond and foreign secretary Boris Johnson. However, the government has already rejected a Lords amendment that called for students to be removed from the target.
Head of policy at the Russell Group, Sarah Stevens, has supported Amber Rudd’s calls, arguing that the government should seriously consider removing students from the UK immigration target to help universities continue recruiting the world’s best academic hopefuls.
Specifically, Sarah argues that international students are important to ensure a diverse learning environment for all students and a boost to each institution’s economic contribution.
“Every seven international students who start an undergraduate degree at a Russell Group university generate £1 million in economic impact for the UK,” she said. “They help support the delivery of high-quality teaching in our universities and create jobs across the economy.”