Fewer international students overstaying welcome than thought

New figures show that the number of international students overstaying their visa in the UK is far below previous estimates.

A study from the Office for National Statistics found that, of those whose long-term study visa expired in 2016-17, 95 per cent either left the UK or remained legally by gaining a visa extension for further study or work.

This means that only around 4,600 international students stayed longer than their visa permitted, far below original estimates of around 90,000.

The news comes at the same time Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the first Home Office investigation into the economic impact of international students in the UK.

“It’s intensely frustrating to learn that the hostile rhetoric over the past few months about international students was based on such a false premise,” said Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University Leicester. “I very much hope that policy will swiftly change on the basis of this new, unsurprising data from the Office for National Statistics.”

He continued: “International students make a vital contribution to the UK economy, enrich our campuses and the experience of UK students culturally as well as economically. It is crucial that future student visa policy is developed using robust data.”

Immigration minister Brandon Lewis said: “We have always been clear that our commitment to reducing net migration to sustainable levels does not detract from our determination to attract international students from around the world.”

Article published 31st August 2017