UK rejects appeal on student visa curbs
The university heads said, "In particular we request that international university students be removed from the net migration statistics for policy purposes, bringing us into line with our major competitors. We believe that this would help government by creating a clear differentiation between temporary and permanent migration, help universities whose international character is essential to their future success, and help the UK by contributing to economic growth".
Students comprise a major component of overall annual immigration figures. The recent curbs on student visas are intended to reduce the number of international students as well as prevent abuse, but critics of the curbs say students should not be counted as immigrants since their stay is temporary.
Immigration minister Damian Green, who last week said there had been a 62 per cent fall in student visas issued in the first quarter of 2012, rejected the contention in the letter to Cameron, and said: "Public confidence in statistics will not be enhanced by revising the way the net migration numbers are presented by removing students."
"Students coming to the UK for over a year are not visitors` numbers affect communities, public services and infrastructure. The independent Office for National Statistics is responsible for producing net migration statistics according to the internationally agreed definition of a migrant which is someone entering the country for more than a year," he added.