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Restrictions on international student immigration ‘damaging’ to UK science says Vince Cable | Immigration Matters

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Prime Minister David Cameron’s efforts to slash immigration are risking Britain’s scientific prowess, the Business Secretary has suggested.

In outspoken comments, Vince Cable warned that tough new entry requirements for students may be “damaging” Britain’s reputation as a good place to study, the Telegraph reports this week.

He also claimed there is a “powerful constituency” arguing for more restrictions on immigration that could stop bright students coming to the UK

His comments are likely to be seen as a swipe at the Prime Minister’s promise to limit non-European citizens coming into Britain to the tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands.

UK University chiefs from across Britain have warned that tough new visa restrictions imposed by the Home Office are driving applicants to study in other countries.

In a speech to scientists, Dr Cable agreed that the Coalition’s immigration policy may be “damaging to the perception of how we welcome talent from overseas”.

The new restrictions on economy boosting taxpaying students are helping to cut immigration numbers and stop the thousands of illegal immigrants entering the UK by falsely claiming to be students.

Downing Street has been considering whether to exempt students entirely from the Government’s targets on cutting immigration.

Removing students from the rules would help the Government hit its target of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands.

However, the idea of excluding students has previously been rejected by Damian Green, the immigration minister, amid concerns that he would be seen as “fiddling” the figures.

In a speech last night, Dr Cable indicated that any limit on legitimate foreign students coming to the UK is a threat to scientific excellence.

“This country’s ongoing scientific prowess depends to an ever greater extent on openness: our ability to attract creative minds to these shores, the exchange of students,” Dr Cable said.

“This might seem obvious but there is always a powerful constituency arguing for closed minds and closed borders.”

Dr Cable said pioneering scientific experiments, such as the Large Hadron Collider, depend on collaboration between academics across borders.

He said Britain must encourage “brain circulation” between borders in contrast to the “brain drain” of the 1960s. Source The Telegraph.

Earlier this week it was reported that the Immigration Minister Government is to reintroduce student interviews to “check their actual ability” to benefit from a UK course.

Damian Green told MPs the measure – strangely reminiscent of the pre-points based system methods deployed by those old fashioned Entry Clearance Officers – was being brought in “as of today” following a pilot carried out at the start of the year which found 17% of students accepted on a course “actually should be refused” as they could not speak “basic conversational English”.

His comments, reported by the Press Association this week, came in response to Tory Julian Brazier, who argued that while overseas students were “vital for our universities”, it had become an “increasingly abused immigration route”.

Mr Brazier said: “Would he agree that the blanket removal of students from the statistics would drive a coach and horses through the excellent measures he’s introduced.” 

See also:

New Government funded courses available for Bulgarian and Romanian EU students

UKBA to bring back checks on overseas students’ ability but will the government remove them from net migration targets?

Immigration Minister responds to Chief Inspector’s report on 150,000 missing visa overstayers

Immigration Minister now tells foreign students to please come and study in UK

Visa overstayers will be refused under new UK Immigration Rules

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund  

New appeal regulations on family visit visa confirmed 


Immigration clampdown announced – if you want to marry a foreigner and live in the UK together you must earn £18,600 

Visa and Immigration Appeals on the increase Full right of appeal removed for UK family visit visa

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an Appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students and access to fully funded courses with NO UPFRONT FEES. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund  

ou could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!

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4 Responses to “Restrictions on international student immigration ‘damaging’ to UK science says Vince Cable”
Read them below or add one

  1. My opinion to mr david cameron and his cabinet should discuss and remove work prohibited to all international student ,by doing so people will be get motivated to study in uk and also due to all student can work it will help them to manage all the living expenses and by doing so the government of uk will manage to growth they economy through international student .

  2. God help students a lot of them cannot cope with the level of high living cost in the UK.
    UKBA please try and consider geniun student that are going to school ok ang issue those schools work permit.

  3. UKBA have to reverse the law or face both genuine or shame marriage which is high at the moment because PSW after that a lot student will like to go back but due to restrictions student decided to choose indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

  4. UKBA should check the level of application they are receiving now for marriage settlement, compare with last year before abolishing PSW and work permit is quite high now why? Students decided to get permanent residence which is better to compare PSW or work permit.

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