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UK: Barely any ‘overstayers’ among international students

Almost all international students head home after graduating, new data shows. Source: Shutterstock

Contrary to what the United Kingdom government has previously claimed, new border checks introduced last year show nearly all (97 percent) of international students leave the country after completing their studies.

Immigration statistics had previously been used by the government to allege tens of thousands of international students overstay their student visa, according to The Telegraph.

The figures are expected to be revealed today together with an unveiling of a plan for a migration advisory committee to examine the impact of EU and non-EU students on the labour market and economy, according to The Guardian.

Last December, the UK’s Home Office was reported to be looking at halving the number of international students who come to the country, using data which implied thousands of international students have overstayed after graduation.

Public and industry backlash have steadily continued since, many criticising the reliability of the data used, as well as stating the harm it would make to the economy.

Home secretary Amber Rudd said the UK government welcomed genuine students, but not those who abused their visas given by poor-quality institutions.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, the umbrella body for the country’s higher education sector, welcomed the review on the benefits international students bring, calling it an “opportunity” to add to the current body of evidence that show the “positive impact” international students bring to the economy and local communities.

Peter Kyle, an opposition Member of Parliament and supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign warned the report should not act as another obstacle on genuine prospective students planning to study in the UK.

“The migration advisory committee is meant to be an independent, expert body. Any attempt by ministers to use their report as a fig leaf to try and justify a crackdown on international students would be a disgrace.”

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