Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has written to Prime Minister Theresa May calling for the removal of international university students from the immigration figures.
The letter, co-signed by twenty Conservative MPs, including Gloucestershire MPs Neil Carmichael and Laurence Robertson, argues that the United Kingdom is home to world-class universities, attracting the brightest and best from around the world.
It makes the case for removal of the student figures from the overall immigration numbers “in order to back the economic and cultural contribution students make … and ensure that the UK remains a global leader for higher education and research.”
Speaking in Parliament recently, Mr Chalk referred to higher education as “one of the United Kingdom’s greatest exports”.
Alex Chalk commented: “Genuine foreign students coming to reputable universities make a very large - and very welcome - contribution to the higher education economy.
“Overseas students are a significant source of income for the University of Gloucestershire and receive a world class service. And of course Cheltenham-based UCAS do a tremendous job, leading the entire country’s university entry system.
“There’s a two-way flow of students, particularly between the UK, the EU and USA. Post-Brexit, it seems sensible to look at the numbers clearly and separately, outside the general immigration numbers, so we can make an accurate assessment of the many benefits. I don’t want to see one of Britain’s most successful exports put at risk.
“If we want to live up to the Lancaster House aspirations of internationalism, we should be taking students out of the general immigration figures. This would give our Higher Education faculties the confidence to promote their offer on an international stage.”