Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday 5th January 2015, the Secretary of State for the Home Office, Theresa May, gave a stark reminder that international students remain at the heart of the Government’s approach to immigration.
Responding to a question from an MP concerning comments made about the Government’s immigration policies by Sir James Dyson, Mrs May said:
‘We have been very clear in all the changes we have made to the immigration system that we welcome the brightest and the best to the United Kingdom. We have no limit on the number of people who are coming here genuinely to study in a proper educational establishment. I am pleased to say that visa applications from university students rose by 2% in the year ending September 2014, with an increase of 4% for the Russell Group universities. We also need to recognise that the latest survey showed that in one year 121,000 students came in from overseas and only 50,000 left. Figures suggest that in the 2020s, we will see 600,000 overseas students each year in this country.’
Under the current system, the Home Office allows international students to remain in the UK after their students visas have ended providing they are sponsored by a UK business under Tier 2, are sponsored via a Government approved scheme under Tier 5 or meet the requirements of a number of other immigration routes such as Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).