Thu 31st May, 2012
Baroness Howells of St Davids, Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, is among those urging the Government to remove foreign students from its net migration figures - to help drive the economy.
The letter was sent to Prime Minister David Cameron on behalf of 67 Chancellors and Chairs of Council from universities across the country.
In it they warn that the Coalition crackdown on immigration risked putting off legitimate foreign students wanting to study here - robbing the UK of billions of pounds of investment.
They are calling for international university students to be removed from net migration statistics. They are urging the government to differentiate between temporary and permanent migration to help the UK maintain its position as a world-leader in international higher education and send out the message that the UK welcomes, and values, genuine international students.
The letter states: “In an age of increasing global mobility, the number of individuals considering a university education abroad is growing rapidly. In this market for talent – and export income – the UK performs exceptionally well, with 9.9 per cent of the total market share in 2009, and export earnings of £7.9 billion.
“International students also play an important role in towns and cities up and down the country, and contribute significantly to local economies. There is a clear opportunity to build on this success, with forecasts suggesting that export earnings from this activity could more than double by 2025.”
Signatories to the letter include former Conservative minister Baroness Bottomley (Virginia Bottomley), writer and broadcaster, Lord Bragg (Melvyn Bragg), former Director-General of the CBI, Sir Richard Lambert and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell MP.