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Plans to send foreign students home after graduating blocked by Tory leadership

A proposal brought forward by Theresa May to make those on student visas return home immediately after graduating has been strongly opposed by both the Tory leadership and the science community.

The proposal, which had been set out in the 2010 general election manifesto, outlines plans to require overseas students to apply for a new UK visa from their home country after they graduate.

It will make the shortage of scientists and engineers worse

Chief among May’s critics was the Chancellor George Osborne, former universities minister David Willetts, and inventor James Dyson who commented that it will make the shortage of scientists and engineers worse.

The Labour Party also criticised the plans arguing that foreign students bring billions of investment into Britain.

Owen Morris, a first year Business student commented that, “All these plans will do is discourage foreign students from coming to Britain which will only have a damaging effect in the long run.”

All these plans will do is discourage foreign students from coming to Britain

Currently, students from outside the EU are allowed to stay in Britain for four months after they graduate and if they manage to acquire graduate jobs they are permitted to switch from student visas to work visas.

A source from the Home Office has been reported to have said that the “brightest and best” would still be able to come back to the UK, arguing that it is abuse of the system that was fuelling net immigration.

Business Secretary and Liberal Democrat Vince Cable has stated that there is a danger of damaging the ‘economically valuable’ recruitment of overseas students to the US with the public debate about immigration.

Senior Tory officials confirmed that the party had no plans to pursue the policy from their 2010 manifesto

The number of overseas students taking places at English universities has fallen by 4,595 students in one year.

Senior Tory officials confirmed that the party had no plans to pursue the policy from their 2010 manifesto. One official was reported to have said, “We have a policy that international students can stay when they graduate if they find a graduate-level job paying £24,000 a year. That remains the policy.”

The defeat is particularly damaging to May who is said to be likely to take over David Cameron’s position as leader of the Conservative party.

Hannah Eves

Image: ukhomeoffice via Flickr

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