International Students: Just Say No

I think it’s fair to say that I strongly disagree with the coalition government. It’s their policies.

And… the way they go about their policies.

Also…the obfuscation of the facts in order to justify those policies.

One of the ones that I dislike the most is their immigration policy – and let me hastily add that although I’m a migrant myself, I’m not against immigration control. That is the right of all sovereign states. No, my main gripe – and Labour is guilty of this too – is the toxicity of the debate, the lack of facts and the deliberate stoking of fears and loathing by politicians to the exclusion of common sense. The truth is, it’s the lack of managing the effects of migration, rather than the numbers, that is the problem. Integration is an issue but it’s also a red herring. Shortages in housing, schools, hospitals – these are planning failures on a local and national government level and immigration is an easy scapegoat.

It’s also a soft target. And for the coalition to attain their arbitrary immigration cap they have to squeeze the group of migrants they already have the most control over: non-EU migration. And the sweet spot in that group is students. Are there abuses? Certainly. But to add students to the immigration numbers when they are temporary migrants putting net value into the economy is mad. (Spoiler alert: student visas say “no recourse to public funds” and they pay at least three times as much as their British and EU colleagues – a subsidy, if you will)

The removal of the 2 year post-study work visa makes study in the UK infinitely less attractive. Why pump money into the economy to leave abruptly at the end with no work experience when in the US, Canada, Australia you can undergird your qualifications with work and prepare for the workplace? In some cases, you’re forced out before your graduation thanks to the government’s eagerness to take your money and shove you out the door.

Just say no.

International students of the world, say no to the capricious visa regime! Say no to a febrile atmosphere stoked merrily by the Daily Mail and Home Office!

Take your money, diversity and talents and invest in someone else’s university system.

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