UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be considering “all options,” including reducing the number of foreign students, in his effort to reduce the rising net migration in the United Kingdom, the BBC reported. Sunak will be looking into imposing curbs on foreign students pursuing so-called “low quality” degrees and bringing in dependents.
According to the story, which cited a representative for Downing Street, Mr. Sunak would investigate putting restrictions on dependents and foreign students pursuing allegedly “poor quality” degrees. However, the spokesman did not specify what a “poor quality” degree is.
The most recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) numbers this week that indicated a significant increase in the number of migrants sparked the UK government’s worries about increased migration. Net migration to the UK increased by 331,000 from 173,000 in 2021 to 504,000 this year.
International students had a significant role in this increase, particularly Indians who for the first time surpassed Chinese applicants for student visas.
“To make sure the immigration system works well, we are evaluating all alternatives. The prime minister is completely dedicated to reducing overall numbers, “On Friday, Mr. Sunak’s spokesperson had stated.
However, limiting the number of international students provides a challenging issue in reducing the number of migrants. According to the research, British universities rely on higher fees from overseas students to make up for the money they lose by charging British students a lesser cost. Some colleges even run the risk of going bankrupt if limitations are placed on allegedly low-quality degrees.
On Friday, a group of students organised by the Indian community petitioned the government to exclude overseas students from the nation’s immigration figures. “Students who are temporarily residing in the UK should not be considered immigrants. Indians make up the largest cohort of international students and contribute a net GBP 30 billion to the British economy “said Sanam Arora, chair of NISAU UK, the national organisation for Indian students and alumni.
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The Sunak administration has pledged to reduce net immigration from India to the UK. Suella Braverman, the home secretary, had lamented the overstaying of Indian students. “Given that I don’t believe those who voted for Brexit intended an open-borders immigration policy with India, I have reservations about it. Take a look at immigration to our nation. The majority of those that overstay are from India, “She’d stated.