MP backs report on overseas student numbers

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Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart has welcomed a report which recommends overseas students should not be counted against the overall limit on net migration in the UK.

The Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, of which Lib Dem Mr Crockart is a member, backed up similar conclusions made by the Home Affairs and Public Accounts select committees.

It said data on students could be published alongside the net migration, but giving a clear distinction.

Mr Crockart said: “Including students in the total net migration figures is misleading, can distort the overall total, and lead to bad policy decisions. By classifying students separately it would allow the government to see the true figures and concentrate fully on their commitment of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands.

“By accepting the report’s recommendations there would be a clear distinction between permanent and study migration and it would signal to the international community that the UK welcomes and supports overseas students. We cannot afford another situation like the recent one with London Metropolitan University [which had its right to issue visas withdrawn].”