The House of Lords science and technology committee report has called for a simpler UK immigration policy. The report has revealed that an “unwelcoming UK” has seen a drop of more than 10% in the past two years, in the number of international students studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Between 2010/11 and 2011/12 the numbers of new international students taking postgraduate taught courses in STEM subjects fell by 13%. This was followed by a further fall of 3% in 2012/13. The Committee has asked for the UK government to rethink their immigration policy.
UK Government’s Immigration Policy Is Contradictory
The select committee has said that the UK government’s immigration policy is contradictory, as they are committed to reducing net migration, simultaneously they want to increase the numbers of international students (15–20% over the next five years). The solution to this is for the government to remove students from the net migration figures. In 2012/13 the number of new undergraduates enrolling on STEM courses fell by 5% and then 4% over the same two years.
Lord Krebs, Chair of the Committee, said:
“When we really need to send the message that international STEM students will get a warm welcome in the UK, they’re getting the cold shoulder and heading elsewhere. We’ve seen over the last few years how international student numbers have fallen dramatically, in particular from India. As a result we’re missing out on the talent, the economic and cultural contribution that international students bring when they come here to study, and our competitors are reaping the rewards.”
Immigration Laws “Deterring” Indian And Pakistani Students from UK
A previous report indicates for the first time in 29 years, there has been a fall in the number of overseas students taking higher education courses in England. With postgraduate students from India and Pakistani declining by 50% in 2013.
Ranjan Mathai, India’s High Commissioner, has stated that visa restrictions on students’ right to work after finishing their courses is just one of the reasons international students are choosing to go elsewhere.
Speaking to the The House magazine, Ranjan Mathai stated:
“Many of the students who I’ve had an interaction with feel that if they’d had a chance to pay their way by staying on for a year – which the system before allowed – then it would make their taking loans and coming to the UK for education more worthwhile, more possible. That’s one reason the numbers have gone down.
The Report Has Suggested The Following;
- The government should remove students, who comprise a majority of non-EU immigrants, from the net migration figures;
- The government should restore the previous post study work route, which they described as ‘simple and effective’;
- To ensure the UK remains in the global competition for international students, the government should review their package for international students every two years;
- To ensure that prospective students feel welcome, the Home Office should improve the way information is provided to them; and
- The government should create a ‘working group’ to determine the effect of decreasing international taught Masters students have on the courses.
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