Friday, 14 September 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Welcomes Rethink On Student Immigration Figures


Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

A government rethink which will see foreign student numbers presented separately in immigration figures has been welcomed as a victory by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert.

Julian has been arguing for two years for this to happen and just last week he pressed the Home Secretary, Theresa May to take this step, although she then claimed it was not possible.

He asked Mrs May if it were possible for the Home Office to arrange for two figures to be published – one using the international definition and one that excluded students.

Mrs May told him: “The reason why America is able to publish the separate student figure within the overall net migration figures is because they have full exit checks. So they can know who has been in and who has been out and identify people in that way. We do not have the same sets of data that would enable us to do that.”

Julian has been fighting to protect overseas students from a government crackdown on non-EU arrivals which threatened to drive them away to other countries to study.

He took up the issue in 2010 with former Immigration Minister Damian Green on behalf of the Cambridge language schools when new visa regulations threatened to prevent overseas students attending their courses.

Julian said: “Legitimate non-EU students coming to this country to study and for research will now be recognised as such in our immigration system. This is a victory for common sense which has been a long time coming.

“I am delighted that we have listened to the concerns of our universities and addressed this issue. It is so crucial for education and research in this country that visitors feel they are welcome here. Our country’s reputation was on the line.”

The decision comes after more than 2,500 overseas students at London Metropolitan University were threatened with deportation.

The full transcripts of Julian’s question and Theresa May’s response are as follows:

Dr Huppert: Would it be impossible for the Home Office to arrange for there to be two figures published: one using the international definition and one that excluded students? Would that be possible?

Mrs May: The reason why America is able to publish the separate student figure within the overall net migration figures is because they have full exit checks. So they can know who has been in and who has been out and identify people in that way. We do not have the same sets of data that would enable us to do that.