International students bring value to Sheffield

Is the number of foreign students in the UK really “unsustainable”?

According to immigration minister Damian Green, the number of foreign students let into the UK is “unsustainable”.

Apparently of the 185,000 students who came into the UK in 2004, 21% were still in the country five years later. This was presented in such a way as to suggest these are people remaining illegally after the expiration of their visas.

As expected, he neglects to mention that of those 21%, a third have stayed here for further study (on long courses, such as medicine), and the rest had either married British citizens or had been issued with work visas.

Neither did he mention the estimated £5.6 billion value to the British economy added by international students, and the huge contribution they make to university funding through fees.

Combine this with the reduction in student places and the cuts to University funding, and one has to wonder about the coalition government’s commitment to improving access to education. 

Of course I would never suggest that a Conservative led administration would try and engineer a situation where only the rich were able to go to university, but if government won’t pay for it, and they don’t want international students to pay for it, who will?

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