18 March 2011

'Flawed’ UK immigration data could cripple education sector

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The proposals to tighten restrictions on student visas are based on “flawed” data and could cripple the UK's £40 billion education sector, a report has suggested.

UK Visa

UK Visa proposals based on flawed UK immigration data would be detrimental, says the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

The proposals are based on data that "are not fit for purpose and could inhibit effective policy making", MPs have said.

The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said plans to end the links between study and work should be scrapped and new UK Visa system for students should be brought in as a priority.

Keith Vaz, the committee's chairman, said: "Generating policy based on flawed evidence could cripple the UK education sector. In the case of international students this could mean a significant revenue and reputational loss to the UK.

"We strongly urge the Government to examine the data which it currently uses to extrapolate migration figures and recognise that for any genuine student the doors to Britain's fine education institutions are always open. If the door is shut they will simply study elsewhere."

Mr Vaz said students are not migrants and when they study in the UK they contribute to the economy both through payment of fees and wider spending.
“Whilst we are right to seek to eliminate bogus colleges and bogus students, we need to ensure that we continue to attract the brightest and the best," he said.
UK Immigration minister Damian Green said: "This Government recognises the important contribution that international students make to the UK economy, but the old student visa regime neither controlled immigration nor protected legitimate students from being exploited by poor quality colleges.

"We want to refocus the student visa system as a temporary route and one that is not open to abuse."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their UK Immigration applications to the British Embassy.  

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