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September 17, 2012

Minister asks UK Govt to not slash visas for foreign students to control immigration

     London: A British minister has asked the Govt to abandon its efforts to bring immigration under control by slashing student visas. According to the leaked letter, Higher Education Minister David Willetts told Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that he wanted more students to come to the United Kingdom, despite admitting that the number of students who stay here illegally after their courses end is not known. In the letter to Clegg, Willetts made it clear that he wants ‘no limit’ on legitimate students coming to Britain to study. Universities want to double the number of foreign students, who pay larger tuition fees than Britons, to fund their expansion plans. According to the Daily Mail, Willetts’s four-page letter demanded a ‘clear commitment that the government will not seek to reduce legitimate student numbers in order to meet the net migration target and will explore ways of presenting net migration figures to make this apparent’. Willetts, dubbed ‘Two Brains’ for his reputation as an intellectual, acknowledged ‘the difficulties of accurately removing students from the net migration statistics, particularly as we still lack robust data on the outflows of students from the country’. “However, I do not believe we can justify keeping students in the net migration target on this point alone, given the widespread concern that this could result in a reduction in the number of legitimate students. We should be seeking to increase the numbers of legitimate students coming to study,” he added. According to the report, he wants ministers to make a public commitment that they have ‘no intention’ of ever placing ‘a cap or limit’ on international student numbers.
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