Commenting on the Migration Advisory Committee’s report on overseas students, Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment and Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“Business communities around the UK will be bitterly disappointed not to see support for the removal of overseas students from the immigration statistics. We have been calling for the removal of international students from the immigration figures for a long time as the vast majority go home after completing their courses.
“The committee is right to recommend that it should be easier for overseas students to work here at the end of their studies. International students benefit local economies up and down the country, not only through their direct spending power, but also through their skills, languages and cultural awareness. At a time when three quarters of firms are struggling to fill job vacancies, it makes sense to attract and harness the talent of international students.
“It’s time to scrap the caps and arbitrary numerical targets. It’s one thing to control migration, but quite another to use arbitrary mechanisms that deny businesses, universities and public sector employers the people they need to address immediate skills gaps.
“The government should also restore a post-study work visa that allows British universities and companies to benefit from the energy of some of the people they have trained. Now more than ever, the UK should be striving to attract the brightest talent from around the world, and our future immigration policy should reflect that instead of a fixation with targets.”