Press Release: Taking students out of net migration cap is the right move

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Head of Communications Kate Andrews: | 07584 778207. Commenting on the Chancellor's suggestion that foreign students may be taken out of net migration figures, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute Sam Bowman said:

Taking students out of the net migration cap would be a good move, and would mitigate some the harm caused by the cap to British business.

The Adam Smith Institute has called for this for many years: it makes no sense to treat students who will only be here for three or four years in the same way as immigrants who plan to stay here for their whole lives. Of the students who arrived in 2006, only 17% remained in the UK in 2011. Britain’s education sector is world class and, here in particular, the migration cap is a cap on success.

The Chancellor is correct that the public does not object to foreign students – only 32% want student numbers reduced, compared to 64% who want low-skilled immigrant numbers reduced. But the public is even less concerned about high-skilled immigration – only 31% want less of that.

The government would be right to take students out of the net migration cap, but it should take its logic further and stop trying to restrict high-skilled immigrants as well.

Notes to Editors:

The Adam Smith Institute is a free market, libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.