Foreign Student Count
Simon Walker, the director-general of the Institute of Directors, could hardly be more wrong about the government’s policy on foreign students (“Cameron’s immigrant student blunder”, Think Tank, last week). The government’s aim is to not to discourage bright international students who are clearly beneficial.
Rather it is to clamp down on widespread abuse. In India, for example, applications rose by 30% in the first year of the new, looser, points-based system, and an examination of a sample of applications in Delhi in June 2010 found that more than a third included false documents.
His suggestion that students be taken out of immigration statistics would do nothing to address abuse but it would destroy the government’s credibility since they comprise 60% of visa applicants. Half a million non-European Union students arrive here every year and there are still no checks on their departure so these measures are vital. The fuss the university lobby is making simply amplifies the negative message that it complains of.