Immigration Cap On Overseas Students

    May 26th 2010, 12:20pm - Posted by Administrator

  • Another reason for the coalition cabinet to divide: the recent move by the home secretary to include international students in immigration plans has triggered a debate within the coalition cabinet members.

    Theresa May, the home secretary seemed committed to rein in the immigration freedom international students has been enjoying. She said the enormous number of foreign students was an "important part of the overall picture" to bring immigration to Britain in control. According to an estimate, the number of foreign students increased by one third last year. The umbrella group of vice-chancellors, Uni-ersities warned that the announced move to decrease the number of international students coming to Britain may hit colleges badly as around 10% of their staff comes from Asia, Africa and other continents apart from Europe. The education secretary, Micheal Gove expressed his fear that such move will eventually bring down the competitiveness and reputation among potential foreign students. The university secretary, David Willetts and Vince Cable, the business secretary voiced their concerns about the cap on international students.

    A consultation paper was unveiled by May outlining the new annual limit for skilled migrants, which is to be introduced from next April and how it might work. The plan includes putting a temporary cap from July to prevent a possible surge in applications ahead of the cap. May said the final annual limit would be drawn up by the government after consulting the business community. A research was also to initiate to gauge the social impact of the cap.

    While some segments of the society have thrown mild criticism on the move, others have severally denounced it. Care home owners who greatly rely on overseas workers were aggressively critical of the government’s plan for immigration cap and dismissed that their needs for English speaking staff could be met within the EU. The Highly Skilled Migrants Forum warned that the cap would eventually damage the economy since it will divert the £12bn to other countries that international students bring to the UK every year in the form of fee.

    The cap will be an add-on to the Labour’s five-tier points system and will cover tier one-investors, entrepreneurs and the most highly skilled. It will also cover teir two-skilled immigrants with a job offer that cannot be filled by a British staff. Over the next nine years, the most highly skilled migrants will be capped at 5, 400. The consultation paper includes the suggestion of making health insurance a recommended measure for skilled migrants and awarding them extra points who take it out. It also flouted around an idea of putting skilled migrant visas on for bidding in quarterly auctions and inviting firms to bid highest for sponsorship certificates. Those firms which pay highest fee, will have the bring in their skilled labour. The papers indicates that the government is interested in setting up a US-style “first come, first served system” for tier skilled immigrants and a New Zealand-style “pool” system for the most highly skilled migrants in tier one.

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