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."

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