Around 97 per cent of international students leave Britain once they’ve finished studying at university, suggesting that levels of UK immigration are significantly lower than previously believed, according to new border checks.
Citing Whitehall sources, the Telegraph newspaper has claimed that the overall net migration figure of 248,000 could be tens of thousands lower than the estimate if they take into account new exit checks.
This news contradicts previous claims that suggested tens of thousands of students were remaining in the UK without the correct UK visa after their studies had ended.
The figures come as the Home Office reveals its new plan for the migration advisory committee to examine how international students are impacting on the UK job market.
When announcing the report, home secretary Amber Rudd revealed the government’s plans to crack down on the misuse of UK visas by some institutions while keeping in mind that genuine students require student visas in order to study.
Figures also showed that there has recently been an increase in visa applications of six per cent for the Russell Group, while UK visa applications sponsored by universities are 17 per cent higher than they were seven years ago, fuelling concern.
In response to the announcement, Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, stated that he welcomed exploration into the benefits of having international students in Britain.
“This is an opportunity to build on the considerable evidence that shows that international students have a very positive impact on the UK economy and local communities,” he said.
“International students also enrich our campuses and the experience of UK students, culturally as well as economically,” he added. “Many return home having built strong professional and personal links that provide long-term soft-power benefits to the UK.”