Home Secretary Theresa May is allegedly considering a plan to “move towards zero net student migration” and send foreign graduates back to their home countries.
Instead of being able to apply for a work visa on British soil, students hailing from non-European Union countries would have to apply from abroad if they wish to continue living in the UK after their studies have ended.
A source familiar with the Home Sec told The Sunday Times: “Making sure immigrants leave Britain at the end of their visa is as important a part of running a fair and efficient immigration system as controlling who comes here in the first place.”
Mrs May also seeks the authority to penalise universities and colleges that would have low levels of success in ensuring that their foreign graduates leave the country. The Home Secretary further seeks to deprive said institutions of their rights to sponsor overseas students.
Current regulations stipulate that most students can apply for their work visa whilst still on British soil, rather than have to leave the UK and before their possible return.
Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable – whose department tends to university matters – has frequently butted heads with the Home Secretary about foreign students. He maintains that strict rules might discourage them from choosing to study in the UK.
A senior Lib Dem source, who claimed May’s plan could deny Britain of highly-skilled graduates, said: “Such a blunt instrument would not get our support. The idea that you have people from abroad studying in this country and they become engineers or scientists of huge practical value to the economy and rather than have them stay here you immediately turf them out makes no sense.”
May’s new immigration plan came to light after Prime Minister David Cameron asserted that the Tories alone could offer “competence” on immigration matters.
The Prime Minister and Home Secretary are scheming to boil down net annual migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands before the next election. However, Mrs May announced on the Andrew Marr Show that this deadline is unlikely to be met.
Mr Cameron stated that his coalition government acknowledged problems left over from the preceding Labour administration that had “let immigration get out of control.” His government now seeks to zero in on illegal immigrants in the UK before deportation by methods including revoking their driving licences, invalidating their ability to open a bank account, and having landlords ensure the immigration status of their tenants is fully legal.
The PM also declared an “absolute requirement” to alter migrant welfare states in hopes of cutting down the numbers of citizens migrating to the UK from within the European Union. He said: “I came into office with a single-minded determination to turn all this around – and real progress has been made.
“We put a cap on those coming here to work from outside the European Union – and we have seen the numbers fall significantly, close to levels last seen in the 1990s. Major work has been done to clamp down on the bogus ‘colleges’ that were really just a front for people to come here, with more than 800 of them shut down so far.”
From Alcantara Consultancy Services: this is another blow to genuine students who dream of obtaining a qualification in the United Kingdom in order to be able to compete with the best graduates in the global jobs market. However, genuine students should not be discouraged by the rhetoric, but continue to pursue their dreams.