Over 50,000 fewer international students came to the UK in the year to September, 2012.
23 May 2013
International students fall furthest in UK immigration figures
Falling numbers of international students coming to Britain have resulted in the lowest UK immigration figures in a decade.
The current Conservative-led coalition Government has made lwoering UK immigration rates a priority by the end of the current parliament and has added further controls and criteria to UK visa policies.
The changes initially had little effect on net migration numbers but eventually began to take hold and the latest report confirms the trend is continuing.
Approximately 500,000 migrants arrived in the UK in year to September 2012, while almost 350,000 left in the same period. The net flow of 153,000 migrants moving to the UK is the lowest level in a decade.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper praised the numbers as proof the Government was bringing the immigration system back under control:
"[The numbers] show we have cut out abuse while encouraging the brightest and best migrants who contribute to economic growth," said the minister.
However, critics of the Government's actions claim the drop in numbers is coming at the expense of the international education industry in the UK; 56,000 fewer international students came to the UK in the year to September, 2012.
"The Government's progress towards its target of reducing net migration to less than 100,000 by 2015 is still in large part being driven by falling numbers of international students," said Sarah Mulley of the Institute for Puplic Policy Research.
"This decline in international student numbers comes at considerable cost to the UK at a time when we can ill afford it."
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.