New figures released today show the number of overseas students overstaying their visas has turned out to be vastly exaggerated.
Amber Rudd has responded by announcing a review into the impact of foreign students on the UK – but, frankly, that’s the wrong response.
It’s time for the government to drop overseas students from official immigration figures.
International students bring huge benefits to the UK economy and help our universities thrive – after which the vast majority leave the country.
Yet for too long the Conservatives have preferred an arbitrary immigration target that ignores these benefits and the fact these students are temporary migrants only.
I hope when the conclusions of this overdue analysis are published, reason and evidence will finally triumph over the Conservatives’ headline-grabbing, prejudice-appeasing nonsense.
This must include dropping overseas students from official immigration statistics.
Higher education is one of Britain’s most successful export industries. We must not let it be destroyed by the Conservatives’ short-sighted obsession with immigration targets.
It is yet to be seen whether Amber Rudd will overcome the ambition-based objections of her predecessor Theresa May.