Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has challenged the Education Minister about university student immigration in Parliament.
Speaking in Parliament during Education and Business questions, Mr Chalk highlighted his concern that, as the country moves forward post-Brexit, student numbers should be taken outside the immigration figures.
Education Minister Jo Johnson MP responded: “The key thing is that, whether or not they are in those figures, there is no limit on the number of international students who can come here to study. The UK is the best place in the world to get a higher education, and we are delighted that, for the last six years, over 170,000 international students have come to study in the UK.”
Alex Chalk commented: ““Higher education is one of the United Kingdom’s greatest exports. 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 our 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.”