25 Nov 2011

Foreign students make up majority of the population increase in UK

Newly released official data from the Office for National Statistics show that net migration to Britain has apparently hit a record high of 252,000 last year.

Let us examine the data further.

There were 591,000 arrivals out of which 238,000 (record high) were students. However, the data does not mention how many of the students are from Non-EU countries.

Many experts question the classification of students as immigrants- tourists would be a better option. It should be noted that majority of students go back to their home countries after completion of their studies - normally between 1-4 years. Non-EU students can only take part time jobs during term time and contrary to what so many seem to believe, they do not have access to public funding (no benefits - Job seekers allowance, Housing, Child , etc.).

Anyway, the total arrivals (not students) = 353,000. What the reports do not mention is the number of British citizens coming back home from other countries. For example, reports in the the Australian Press indicate that a high number of Brits are going back to the UK.

Apparently the increase is because of a fall in emigration is falling. Only 174,000 Brits left the UK to work abroad - a fall from 203,000 in the previous year.

According to the Guardian report, Matt Cavanagh, of the Institute of Public Policy Research was reported as saying that the Conservatives had made a mistake of choosing 'net immigration' as their political target. He adds:

"The government cannot control emigration, just like it cannot control immigration from the EU, so it ends up trying to clamp down even harder on those areas of immigration it can control. But these are the areas most valuable to our economy, like overseas students and skilled workers from outside the EU."

19 Nov 2011

Indian company one of the largest investors in UK

Some good news:

Indian company Tata which owns Jaguar Land Rover has announced that they will be investing more than £1.5 billion pounds annually in the UK for the next five years. They recently announced the creation of 1000 new jobs at its Land Rover plant in Solihull, West Midlands. They currently employ about 20,000 workers in the UK.

It is amazing that they have been able to turn around an ailing company and actually create new jobs in this economic climate when so many other companies are shutting down or going bankrupt.

Contrary to what some newspapers and organisations would have us believe, not everything foreign is bad for the UK.

16 Nov 2011

Proposal to increase salary threshold for bringing foreign-born spouse and children to the UK

According to a news reports today, the UK migration advisory committee has proposed that UK residents should have a minimum salary before tax of between £18,700 and £25,700 if they wished to bring a spouse or child to live in Britain. Currently the salary threshold is £5,500.The bar increases for those who would like to bring in a wife and 2 kids: between £24,800 to £47,600.

However, Matt Cavanagh, the associate director of the Institute of Public Policy Research, said this is another example of immigration policy being distorted by the net immigration target, referring to the Government's inability to control emigration and immigration from the EU.

"We're not talking about people who are destitute or living on benefits, we are talking about people who are working and getting an average wage" he added.

10 Nov 2011

Problems with the immigration cap

Despite tougher border controls and the immigration cap, why has net immigration actually increased since the new Government come to power.

The answer is quite simple.

A number of those moving into the UK are returning British citizens.

There is nothing the UK can do about the EU nationals, who are estimated to make up about a third of all arrivals. The only solution would be to exit the EU which is simply not going to happen.

In the end, the only people whose entry can be controlled are the non-EU nationals.

It would be hard to prevent family members joining those already here.

Assuring that only students enrolling at valid Universities would help but they make up only a small percentage. Reducing the number of foreign students will affect one of highest foreign exchange earners of the country. Plus the research output generated contributes to the reputation and wealth of the nation. Plus most of the students are only here for a short period of time and some experts are saying that they should not even be classed in the same category as long term immigrants.

However, there is a big loop hole in the cap - there is nothing the Government can do about MNC bringing in foreign workers on "intra-company transfers".

So that leaves a minority of people - the skilled migrants and exceptional talented migrants - artists, academics, scientists, etc. The kind of people who can contribute to the country and whom the country should welcome.

Ultimately this leaves asylum seekers, refugees and illegal immigrants.
What can be done is to crack down on illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers.

9 Nov 2011

UK Border control row

Brodie Clark, the head of the UK border force was suspended on 5th of November , along with and two senior immigration officials based on claims that passport checks for non-EU nationals were secretly dropped this summer.

Theresa May home secretary admits she authorised the relaxed rules on immigration checks. However, she says that she "did not sanction lifting of checks against 'warning list' of potential terror suspects and illegal migrants".

The Full documents.

Brodie Clark resigns from the UK Border Agency - 8th November

From the Guardian

Specialist jobs to be removed from government-approved list

According to a recent report, the UK government has accepted recommendations from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to remove certain specialist jobs from the shortage occupation list. According to the MAC there are UK resident workers available to fill the vacancies. Occupations that the MAC recommended be removed from the list include: secondary education biology teachers; speech and language therapists; pharmacists; orthoptists; veterinary surgeons; and, rank and file orchestral musicians. Added to the list will be: actuaries; high integrity pipe welders; environmental scientists; and, geochemists Rank and file orchestral musicians will not be removed from the list immediately, until further discussions take place with the industry to discuss the resident labour market test. The revised list will come into effect from 14 November 2011.

25 Oct 2011

The contribution of South Asian doctors to the NHS

" researchers at the Open University have carried out 60 interviews with retired and serving overseas-trained doctors from South Asian countries about their experiences of working as geriatricians in the NHS from 1948 to the present day."

Read the full feature here.

26 Aug 2011

How the Daily Star and Migration Watch spins figures

Fullfact.org an independent fact-checking organisation, questions the numbers used by the Daily Star newspaper and think-tank Migration Watch in the later's immigrant housing report.

The article points out that "Government statistics don't actually match up with the 8.4 per cent figure quoted by the think-tank". The newspaper has gone even further by rounding the figures off to “nearly 10 per cent”. The actual figure is actually 6.1 per cent as demonstrated in a briefing by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.

Following the article, Migration Watch had agreed to correct this. However, looking at the Migration Watch website, they merely say that "However, they seem to have misunderstood the basis of the Migrationwatch calculation which is not a question of existing percentages but of future projections of migrant households."

Only at the end of the comment do they mention:

"The continuous recording of lettings (CORE) in Table 754 of the Local Authority Housing Statistics gives 6.1% for 2009/10, as Full Fact say. However, the English Housing Survey which takes a 2 year average of 2008/9 and 2009/10 gives 9.5% non-British social renters. The figure of 8.3% in paragraph 3 of the paper referred to the previous year's figures as this part of the paper was completed before the latest English housing Survey was published. "

7 Aug 2011

Some famous British sports stars not born in the UK

Yahoo has this really interesting list of the "Top 10 'non-British-born' sporting Brits". There are several more who did not make the list mentioned in the comments.

  1. John Barnes - Born in Jamaica
  2. Graeme Hick - Born in Zimbabwe 
  3. Luol Deng - Born in Sudan
  4. Zola Budd - Born in South Africa
  5. Greg Rusedski - Born in Canada
  6. Mo Farah - Somalia
  7. Kevin Pietersen - South Africa
  8. Mike Catt - South Africa
  9. Joe Bugner - Hungary
  10. Simon Shaw - Kenya

Some immigrants doing the country proud.

30 May 2011

NUS voices fears about latest visa changes

According to Aaron Porter, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS) students should not be included in migration figures.

The "anti-immigration rhetoric" may drive away potential students.

Porter said: "The idea that students – who are a transient population which leave the country after three years – are included in migration figures is wholly illogical. The contribution of international students to the UK economy runs into the billions, and helps to subsidise home students.

Read the whole report: Anti-immigration rhetoric could deter overseas students, says NUS

16 Apr 2011

Alex Stevenson on the coalition and immigration

Alex says "Yet again (remember bigotgate?) immigration steals an electioneering march over the everyday issues which dominate the lives of those" in his article Immigration is a convenient coalition punchbag.

There was an interesting comment from duncanputt who says"
I'm glad this coalition government is actually talking about immigration. However, I think they're giving it a negative feel. Immigration can help boost the economy as long as only qualified foreigners come in. Not low lifes who will set up a fast food place in a working class area like most immigrants. If it wasn't for Indian doctors the NHS would have collapsed in the 1960s/70s. So immigration can be good if it's done correctly and in the right doses.

14 Apr 2011

Other countries to benefit from the UK's closed door policy

Following the tightening of visa rules by the British government, the UK is sending out the message that international Non-EU students are not welcome here. This represents an opportunity for New Zealand, Australia and even countries like Malaysia and Singapore, who are trying to build up their own education sector by attracting international students.

Australia is one country which recently overturned their own visa policy after finding that their economy was seriously affected. Stephen Connelly, the country's International Education Association Australia president saw the new visa changes in the UK as "a potential opportunity for Australia" because "students will look elsewhere."

New research indicates that Multiculturalism is ‘not to blame’

A research team led by Dr Laia B├ęcares from The University of Manchester, found that "deprivation, not multiculturalism, was the root cause of fragmented communities". In fact neighbourhoods with higher ethnic diversity are associated with higher rates of social cohesion.

Click here to read the report Multiculturalism ‘not to blame’ for failed sense of community.

6 Apr 2011

Cap on Skilled Immigration

A permanent annual cap comes in to effect in the UK from today. The cap will be 21,700 annually with 4200 places this month and 1500 each month after that.

Various comments:

"The cap on skilled immigration is an example of how the target is leading to bad policy. It will keep out the highly-skilled migrants who contribute most to the UK economy and to the public purse: the people that the public aren’t especially worried about. " - Reducing Immigration: Caps, limits and the perils of political targets By Sarah Mulley

According to Damian Green “To often over the past ten years it has been the first resort. Britain became addicted to immigration as a solution to a number of problems and we have to wean ourselves off that addiction." - Britain is "addicted to immigration" warns minister by Tom Whitehead.

"This is a short-sighted policy on the part of the government and is indicative of the coalition's chaotic approach to higher education reform. It will hamper universities already struggling to maintain their world-leading status in a hostile funding climate, and will contribute to a decline in "innovation and skills" that we all will be lamenting in ten years' time." - Why the immigration cap spells trouble for universities by Tamson Pietsch

"It is clearly essential that unduly tight restrictions on economic migration should not impede the economic recovery on which so much else depends. This appears unlikely due to the generous limit and partial nature of the cap; it doesn’t cover ICTs or in country extensions." - The cap on economic migration - will it have much effect? Migration Watch UK

Also read Q&A: UK immigration cap By Dominic Casciani

21 Mar 2011

The six social tribes of Britain

A report by the Searchlight Educational Trust into race, multiculturalism and identity shows that Britain is now divided into six social "tribes".

• Confident multiculturalists: 8% of the population, who are most likely to be graduates and entirely comfortable with Britain's multicultural society.

• Mainstream liberals: 16% of the population, who are educated and "see immigration as a net benefit" to Britain and only differ from the first group in their enthusiasm about multiculturalism.

• Identity ambivalents: 28% of the population, who come from less affluent backgrounds and include black minority ethnic groups. "They are more likely to be working class, to live in social housing and to view immigration through the prism of its economic impact on their opportunities and the social impact on their communities,". This group tend to identify with Labour.

• Cultural integrationists: 24% of the population, who are older and more prosperous. They are likely to have concerns about the "impact of immigration on national identity and about immigrants' willingness to integrate". They are more likely to identify with the Tories.

• Latent hostiles: 10% of the population, who are more likely to be older and not educated to university level. "For them, immigration has undermined British culture, public services and their own economic prospects,".

• Active enmity, 13% of the population, who tend to be unemployed and unskilled. They tend to be "opposed to all ethnicities or religions other than their own".

The survey was carried out the Populus polling organisation in which 5,000 people were surveyed.

In an article in the Guardian, David Miliband attacks David Cameron's 'muscular liberalism' and says that there is a risk of significant numbers of identity ambivalents jumping to latent hostility or active enmity.

20 Mar 2011

Some facts about international students in UK

The international student market is valued at up to £40 Billion a year. It is one of the biggest industries in the UK employing thousands of people. It is the second largest contributor to the UK's net balance of payments.

The Home Affairs Select Committee rejected the plans to close down the "post-study-work" route for international students highlighting that all competitors offer those opportunities.

The Home Office wants to reduce net annual migration from outside Europe to below 100,000 from the 2009 level of 184,000. The student route accounts for 139,000 of the 184,000 total annual migrants to the UK. However, there is no evidence that these students are in fact migrants.

Majority of the students go back to their home countries after completing their studies. Only a few stay on for a couple of years to gain work experience.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, students do not have access to public funds, meaning that they don't receive any benefits.

Also read:
MPs warn student visa proposals could 'cripple' sector
Overseas students curb could damage colleges, MPs warn

16 Mar 2011

Impact of foreign students on the Welsh economy

According to a recent report international and EU students contributed nearly a quarter of a billion pounds to the Welsh economy. Besides fees, economic benefits included a £23m annual boost to the tourist industry in Wales.

However, the impact of international students goes beyond the money. As the article in Wales Online notes, "Positive experiences of our universities contribute to a higher international profile for our nation and helps foster future business and cultural links."

Read the full article Foreign students bring more to Wales than simply money

Universities more reliant on foreign students

According to a report in The Telegraph, Universities are more reliant on foreign students despite visa fears.

Over a 12 month period (2009/10), money from foreign students increased from £1.8bn to £2.1bn. Fees from International students now make up 9.6% of the total cash raised by higher education institutions in England.

This was disclosed in data from the Government’s Higher Education Funding Council for England.

14 Mar 2011

Jobs ban for immigrants from outside EEA

Following the review of country's skill shortages by the Migration Advisory Committee (Mac), immigrants from outside the European Economic Area will no longer be allowed to work in the UK as chefs in takeaway restaurants, high-integrity pipe welders, airframe fitters, electricity industry site supervisors, sheep shearers, hairdressers, beauty salon managers and estate agents from April, 2011.

Only graduate-level skilled migrants will be allowed to apply to come to the UK from outside Europe.

Non-EU migrants wanting to work as chefs need graduate-level qualifications, with a minimum of five years' previous experience in a role of at least equivalent status to the one they are entering.

Read Eight jobs removed from 'skills shortage' list

6 Mar 2011

University VCs warn that may be forced to close some courses

According to a news report, vice chancellors of 16 UK universities have voiced concern at the new visa restriction proposals and have warned "they may be forced to close some courses unless the Government drops plans to limit UK visas for foreign students".

"International students coming to universities contribute over £5bn each year to the UK economy through tuition fees and off-campus expenditure".

Closing the courses would mean less students and even having to let staff go.

Read the report on the Sky site "Visa Restrictions 'May Close' Uni courses"

27 Feb 2011

The Far right and British voters

According to a report in the Daily Mail "Half of Britain 'would vote for far-Right parties if they gave up violence".

The report was about the results of a poll carried out by Populus and commissioned by the Searchlight Education Trust, who asked people if they would back a party that ‘wants to defend the English, create an English parliament, control immigration and challenge Islamic extremism’.

Apparently a total of 48 percent respondents would ‘definitely support’ or ‘consider supporting’ a party with such an agenda provided they "Shunned violence and fascist imagery".

Interestingly, more British Asians (38%) polled believed that immigration should be halted - at least until the economy is back on track as compared to 4% of white Britons and 21% of black Britons.

Not surprising considering the fact that the results of the "Transatlantic Trends" also showed that the British are the most worried about immigration in Europe, even more than the French, Spanish and Germans, even though their countries have far higher number of immigrants compared to the UK.

26 Feb 2011

Non-EU students are not taking our jobs

Stephen Henderson writes about the "The crazy economics of reducing foreign student visas" on the "Left Foot Forward" blog.

He says:

Quite unlike the mythical tabloid immigrant, non-EU students are neither ‘taking our jobs’ nor are they ‘living off benefits’ – quite the reverse. Government (Home Office) estimates from a few years back say that non-EU students (in addition to the fees) bring about £8.5 billion pounds into the UK, spend it all and then leave! To put that in perspective it’s roughly the same as our quarterly balance of trade deficit.

Foreign born British Nobel Laureates 2001 - 2010

Out of 17 British Nobel laureates between 2001 - 2010, six were born outside the UK.

They are as follows:

  1. Andre Geim, born in Russia, Physics, 2010
  2. Konstantin Novoselov, born in Russia, Physics, 2010
  3. Charles K. Kao, born in China, Physics, 2009
  4. Doris Lessing, born in Iran, Literature, 2007
  5. Sydney Brenner, born in South Africa, Physiology or Medicine, 2002
  6. V.S. Naipaul, born in Trinidad, Literature, 2001