London: Talking tough, Home Secretary Theresa May on Tuesday ruled out any relaxation in Britain's student visa system, saying overseas students should return home as soon as their visa expires unless they have a graduate job.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, she said: "We welcome students coming to study. But the fact is, too many of them are not returning home as soon as their visa runs out."
"If they have a graduate job, that is fine. If not, they must return home. So I don't care what the university lobbyists say: the rules must be enforced. Students, yes; over-stayers, no. And the universities must make this happen," May said.
Leading NRI industrialist, Lord Swraj Paul, Chancellor of the Wolverhampton University and Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, have been emphasising the need for removing students from the immigration figures and reintroducing the post-study work visa.
Lord Paul today said, "Britain should attract high caliber students to study in the UK. We must also provide opportunity for them to work in the UK for two years following their studies. It does not help foreign students alone. It also helps British student as they gain experience in international living. This is important in today's world."
Expressing concern over decline in the number of Indian students coming to study in the UK universities, Bilimoria has asked the British government to remove students from the immigration figures and reintroduce the post-study work visa.
Participating in a recent debate on the Immigration bill in the House of Lords, Lord Bilimoria had said: "The Prime Minister (David Cameron) talks about Britain having to take part in a global race yet the government's insistence is on following this madcap immigration cap policy and targeting bringing down the immigration level to the tens of thousands. This is shooting ourselves in the foot."
Indian students constitute the second-largest foreign students group in the UK after the Chinese and nearly 20,000 Indian students went to the UK for higher studies in the academic year 2013-2014.
The number of Indian students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses have declined by nearly 50 per cent between 2010 and 2012 after UK scrapped the two year post-study work permit.