The government’s decision to drastically reduce the number of international students through visa restrictions could cost the economy £3.6 Billion, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee has said. In a report released on 26th July, the MPs highlighted concerns over a lack of an evidence based approach to student visas policy.
Earlier this year the government announced stricter visa regime for international students which include tougher restrictions on work, increased scrutiny of private institutions and stricter English language requirements.
The MPs criticised the government for ignoring the impact assessment carried out by the Home Office which revealed that the changes to the student visas policy would cost £3.6 Billion to the UK economy.
The Home Office’s official assessment of the policy has led the MPs to conclude that the Government is failing to establish a solid evidence base before embarking on policy changes which could damage Britain’s economic recovery.
The MPs have long argued for an improvement in the way that the Government collects immigration statistics, a position supported by the UK Statistics Authority in their recent Monitoring Brief on Immigration Statistics.
“The committee are fully supportive of the need to address the flaws of the current system of immigration,” Chair of the Committee, Keith Vaz MP said. “However the Home Secretary’s dismissal of the Impact Assessment is very disappointing. The Government appears to be not only making policy without adequate immigration statistics, but also ignoring its own evidence. We reiterate the need for an immigration policy which is both evidence-based and does not adversely affect the British economy.”