OUSU has released an official statement condemning the Home Secretary Theresa May’s recent calls for non-EU international students to be sent home following the conclusion of their studies.
The statement, which is signed by OUSU President Louis Trup and OUSU Vice President for Graduates Yasser Bhatti, explains that the proposals would not, “help the government’s immigration caps or the companies wishing to make use of top graduates”.
It goes on to add that, “We believe that international students should be made to feel welcome in the UK, and this attempt to pander to immigration scaremongerers serves no purpose, except to further alienate international students from the British educational community and reduce the potential for them to contribute to the UK economy”.
The proposals, put forward this week, are designed to help the government “move towards zero net student migration” in the coming years. If put in place, non-EU students would have to return to their home countries before applying for permission to work in the UK.
Trup also took to Twitter to refer to the plans as a “silly idea”.
— Louis ‘OUSU’ Trup (@OUSU_Pres) December 22, 2014
One Oxford student told Cherwell “I’m fully behind OUSU on this one. May’s ideas just don’t stand up to any sort of logic. Everyone’s set to lose out if this goes through.”
Meanwhile, Anu Oyefesobi, a third-year classicist from the United States, commented, “It’s absolutely ridiculous, especially considering the amount of money international students bring to the UK economy every year. If the Conservatives feel immigration is an issue, cracking down on highly skilled migrants really is not the way to fix anything.
“Even in the US, where plenty of Republicans are always all about stopping immigration, no one ever attempts to stem the influx of educated immigrants. If anything, it’s been a recent worry that the US doesn’t attract enough. Also, the UK really needs them, considering the fact that something like 20 per cent of NHS doctors aren’t even British. So good luck with that if she succeeds.”
Arnav Chaube, a first-year Maths student from India, highlighted the potential financial problems with the proposal. “I‘m paying much more for education in the UK than an average UK student (about £22,700 for tuition annually),” he pointed out, “and much more than that I would pay in India. So if I were to go and work in India after graduation, I would earn an average Indian salary, which is significantly lower due to cheaper living expenses etc., making it impossible for me to pay back my loans.”
Conservative sources, however, have since attempted to justify the move. “Making sure immigrants leave Britain at the end of their visa is as important a part of running a fair and efficient immigration system as controlling who comes here in the first place,” one party official claimed in The Sunday Times.
OUSU’s statement follows the Vice-Chancellor’s remarks in October criticising the government’s position towards international students. Professor Andrew Hamilton had said that visa controls would be “harmful” and “hostile to student entry”.