Document Details

Title An ambiguous welcome: Higher education, international student pathways and immigration in the UK
Author Carolyn Walker - Academic Director, INTO at the University of Exeter, Observatory Associate


here is an air of panic around UK public debate on the topic of immigration, reinforced by projected population growth from the current 64.6 million to 74.3 million over the next 25 years. Immigration is estimated to account for just over half of this growth, and within immigration discourse international students constitute a major theme. Home Secretary Theresa May, speaking to the recent Conservative Conference in Manchester on 6th October, focused on students as one reason why immigration numbers “have doubled”. She declared that “when immigration is too high, when the pace of change is too fast, it’s impossible to build a cohesive society”, and that “too many [students] are not returning home as soon as their visa runs out. … So I don’t care what the university lobbyists say: the rules must be enforced.” The implication was clear: for Mrs May, there are too many international students.

But international students – that is those from outside the European Economic Area - bring many widely and frequently acknowledged benefits for the country and its universities, and this presents the Government with something of a headache.

Date 13/11/2015
Region(s) Europe
Countries United Kingdom
Theme(s) Transnational Education (TNE) Models

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