International Students: Key Issues Explained


Education, Population, Visas/Work Permits

1. Are international students of value to Britain?

Yes, provided that they
intend to return at the end of their studies. Students pay fees and contribute
to local economies through their living expenses. They also take their
expertise when they leave which benefits their home country. Once home, they
are more likely to do business with Britain. If students stay on in the UK they
add to our population growth and the pressure on our public services.

2. Do foreign students go home?

An analysis of the
cohort of people issued visas in 2004 carried out by the Home Office found that
20% of students were still legally in the UK after 5 years[1];
many of those will stay on permanently by reason of marriage or employment.
This does not mean however that the other 80% of students left after 5 years.
The UK does not yet have full exit checks so the number that actually left
cannot be determined

The student route is
abused by people whose real intention is to come to the UK to work.  A recent study by the National Audit Office estimated
that, in the first year of the Points Based System, 40-50,000 individuals may
have entered the UK on a student visa to work rather than study.[2]

A recent Home Office
pilot study found that in India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Bangladesh and
Burma, over 50% of applicants who were interviewed to assess their credibility
would have failed – many on the grounds that the Entry Control Officer. (ECO) was not convinced that they were genuine
students and that they planned to remain in the UK on a temporary basis.[3]  

To see the full Briefing
Paper No 12.5 click here 


[2] National Audit Office, Immigration: The
Points Based System – Student Route, March 2012, URL: http://www.nao.org.uk//idoc.ashx?docId=0f549a94-58b6-4080-8a93-fb6aa9bb4b5e&version=-1

[3] Home Office, Tier 4 Student Credibility
Pilot, Analysis of Quantitative and Qualitative Data, July 2012, URL: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/occ104

24th September 2012

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