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According to a report by BBC Rishi Sunak, the UK Prime Minister will consider reducing the number of international students to bring down the rising net migration in the country.
According to the report, which cited a spokesperson for Downing Street, Mr. Sunak will investigate putting constraints on foreign students and their dependents for allegedly pursuing "poor quality" degrees. However, the spokesman did not specify a "poor quality" degree.
The net migration to the United Kingdom increased from 173,000 in 2021 to 504,000 in 2022, which equals an increase of 331,000. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a huge jump in the number of migrants, which set off the UK government’s concerns about the rising migration.
Indian students were big contributors to this spike after taking over the Chinese international students and making up most of the student visas. On Friday, Mr. Sunak’s spokesperson stated, "We're considering all options to ensure the immigration system is delivering. The prime minister is fully committed to bringing overall numbers down."
However, limiting the number of international students is a challenging issue in reducing the number of migrants. According to the research, British institutes rely on higher tuition fees from international students to make up for the money they lose by charging British students a lesser cost. Some colleges risks going bankrupt if impediments are placed on allegedly low-quality degrees.
Sanam Arora, Chair of National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK, said, “students who are in the UK temporarily, should not be counted as migrants. International students, of which Indians are the biggest cohort, bring a net revenue of GBP 30 billion into the British economy.”
Earlier, Suella Braverman, the UK Home Secretary of Indian descent, complained about international Indian students overstaying their stay in the UK by saying, “I have concerns about having an open borders migration policy with India because I don't think that's what people voted for with Brexit. Look at migration in this country - the largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants.” The Sunak government has promised to reduce the net migration in the UK with India, the difference between the numbers entering and leaving the UK.
Times reported that bringing down these numbers could include restricting visas for students’ dependents and admissions to UK universities.
The PM supports Britain's universities, which are "some of the very best in the world," according to Mr. Sunak's official spokesman.
However, he was also "fully committed" to lessening overall immigration levels, attributing the record high to "unprecedented and unique circumstances."
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