Think Tanks


17 Feb 2012 06:55:28

Chris Nicholson: Including student migrants in the drive to cut immigration is harming economic growth

Chris Nicholson is director and chief executive of CentreForum, the liberal think tank.

For a party which is pro-private enterprise and keen to boost economic growth, the Conservatives' policies towards control of student immigration defy logic. Of course there have been past abuses of the system, where bogus colleges have brought in students with no real intention of studying, but much of this abuse has been stamped out by changes introduced by the last government. Several thousand institutions that were previously legally able to enrol visa students were dropped from the list. So the fact that the Coalition has now tightened the visa controls further is both counterproductive and hitting the wrong target.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI showed that while 70 percent of people want cuts in immigration, less than a third want a cut in the number of overseas students. This is not surprising. Home Office statistics show that only about ten percent of students stay on in the UK permanently and are often among the "brightest and best" which the government has said it wants to see stay. In the US student visas are included within the category of "non-immigrant visas", and students are classified as "temporary visitors" rather than permanent migrants. As we argued in our recent publication 'Tier 4 Tears: how student visa controls are destroying the private HE sector' (pdf) there is no good reason why the same rules shouldn't apply here in the UK.

Why does it matter? Well, first, overseas students contribute billions of pounds a year to the UK economy (estimates range from £3-8billion). This is a fast growing market internationally, estimated by McKinsey to be growing at seven percent per annum. There are many countries such as Australia, US and Singapore which are keen to attract students who would otherwise be applying to the UK. Second, around half of non-EU students at UK universities have previously done courses at language schools, or 'pathway colleges'. So clamping down on students applying to these colleges will likely cut the total number of students studying in the UK, as we warned in our 2011 report 'Pathway to prosperity' (pdf).

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27 Nov 2009 23:47:00

Why an amnesty on illegal immigrants is bad for Britain

Migration Watch

"An Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants? - Migration Watch Response to the GLA Paper"

Author: Migration Watch

Publication Date: November 2009

The report is highly critical of the idea of an amnesty of illegal immigrants which has been supported by Boris Johnson among others. The report argues that an amnesty will encourage further illegal immigration and will increase the risk of fraud. Furthermore an amnesty will increase the strain on social housing and create societal problems.

11 Nov 2009 22:08:00

Why a Points Based System won't halt immigration

Migration Watch

"The Points Based System - Why it will not stop our population hitting 70million"

Author: Migration Watch

Publication date: 11 November 2009

The report states that the UK Points Based System places no limit on the number of immigrants allowed to settle in the UK unlike the Australian Points Based System. According to the author the Points Based System will have cut immigration by 8% in 2008. In order to prevent the UK's population from reaching 70million by 2029 a reduction in immigration by 66% would be required.

1 Sep 2009 23:06:00

The impact of immigration on the size of our population

Migration Watch

"How Immigration Affects the Size of Our Population"

Author: Migration Watch

Publication date: 1 September 2009

This report notes that immigration is now accounting for an estimated 70% of projected population growth in the UK. The report also notes that the Office of National Statistics figures contains a 2.5% error in its 20 year range migration projection thus highlighting the unpredictability of the UK's migration statistics.

12 Jul 2009 00:22:00

Neither main parties pledging to stop UK population hitting 70million

Migration Watch

"Neither Labour nor Conservatives will stop the population hitting 70million"

Author: Migration Watch

Publication date: 12 July 2009

The report is critical of both Labour and Conservative policies on immigration. The report concludes that to prevent Britain's population from reaching 70million net migration levels need to be reduced by 75% from the present level of 237,000 people per year. According to the author on the basis of the parties current policies Labour would reduce net immigration by about 8% and the Conservatives would reduce it by 27%.

23 May 2009 00:03:00

The secret cost of immigration

Migration Watch

"The Invisible Cost of Immigration"

Author: Migration Watch

Publication date: 23 May 2009

The money sent home out of the UK by UK dwelling immigrants amounts to an estimated £4billion per year which is an estimated £11million per day. This is often ignored but in the eyes of the author is a further example of the the negative financial impact of mass immigration.

30 Apr 2009 00:14:00

Twelve key facts on immigration

Migration Watch

"A dozen key facts on immigration"

Author: Migration Watch

Publication date: April 2009

Twelve key lesser known facts relating to mass immigration in the UK and the consequential impact on British society.

15 Dec 2008 16:57:00

Restoring Trust in the UK Asylum System


"Asylum Matters - Restoring Trust in the UK Asylum System"(PDF)

Authors: The Centre for Social Justice Asylum and Destitution Working Group, chaired by Julian Prior

Publication date: 15 December 2008

This report acknowledges that the public have lost confidence in the asylum system under Labour and that the lengthy asylum process is neither serving the asylum seeker nor the taxpayer. The authors suggest their greatest concern with the current asylum system relates to accommodation and financial support being withdrawn almost immediately after a negative decision has been made on an asylum claim. The report also mentions that it is highly damaging that asylum seekers are not entitled to undertake paid employment. The report makes the case for dividing the functions of the UK Border agency. Other proposals include allowing those who are unable to return home a temporary right to remain and an increase in the forced removal of asylum applicants within six months of a negative decision if all other options have been exhausted.