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Home Secretary should look urgently at international students targets

4 June 2018 | last updated: 16 March 2021

UCU has called on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to prioritise a review of how international students are counted for immigration targets. The union said it was encouraging that the Home Secretary appeared to recognise how unwelcoming the current policy is.

When asked about including students in the net migration figures, the Home Secretary said he empathised with the view that the policy did not look very welcoming. He said it was not his most urgent priority, but that he would like to look at it again.

The union welcomed his commitment to revisit the issue, but said he should do so immediately. The Prime Minister has insisted on keeping international students in the figures since she was home secretary, but has looked increasingly isolated on the issue.

Last year, official figures on the number of international students remaining in the UK were labelled "potentially misleading" by the government's statistics watchdog who also said the figures should be "treated with caution".

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It is encouraging the new Home Secretary appears to recognise how unwelcoming our current policy is. However, we need that policy looked at again as a priority.

'Our universities' international student recruitment is a huge success story because overseas students are attracted by the quality of higher education available. International students make an enormous contribution to UK higher education both educationally and economically.

'Sajid Javid should take the lead on this and support universities by committing to remove international students from the net migration target altogether.'