Bogus student visa figures "happened on May's watch" https://t.co/jOsaNoVzox
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) August 24, 2017
Coalition battles revived
Vince Cable, the LD leader who as Coalition Business Secretary had responsibility for universities, has attacked TMay, following the news that student immigration figures are nothing like on the scale that the government had previously thought.
As reported in the media earlier new figures have been published based on exit checks from UK ports, that show that 97% cent of foreign students, 4.6k left the UK after finishing their studies.
This compares with the 100k estimate that was previously used. Cable doesn’t mince his words:-
“This debacle happened on Theresa May’s watch at the Home Office. I spent five years in coalition battling her department’s bogus figures on this issue but she responded by erecting a wall of visa restrictions on an entirely false basis.
Cabinet Brexiteers fought a referendum campaign on a flawed prospectus, scapegoating foreign students who weren’t even here, and demonising EU citizens who are now leaving the country voluntarily.
No wonder the government has announced a review into the impact of foreign students because its economically disastrous policy was based on figures that were out by 96%…”
The universities have argued strongly over the years that overseas student bring economic benefits, have a big impact on the fee revenue at many institutions and that it was wrong to include them in official immigration figures.
Given the importance of controlling immigration in TMay’s interpretation of what the Brexit referendum meant this is a big political issue. The Scottish Tory leader whose 12 gains north of the border on June 8th saved the situation for TMay, has argued strongly against TMay on the issue.