London: Almost a quarter of a million fewer
overseas student visas are expected to be issued over the next
five years as immigration curbs take effect, according to a
government estimate published.
The Home Office assessment published yesterday suggests
that the curb on overseas student numbers from outside the
European Union will reduce total net migration to Britain by
230,000 between now and 2015 and make a significant
contribution to the government`s goal of reducing net
migration to `tens of thousands` each year.
But the annual reduction, averaging 46,000 a year, is only
around half the figure quoted by the home secretary, Theresa
May, when she gave details of the visa changes in March, when
implying the changes would cut net migration by 400,000 in
total by 2015.
A more detailed impact assessment of the student visa
changes is due to be presented to parliament later this week,
when the government is expected to come under further
criticism about what many see as a `false economy.`
The government`s move to cut the annual flow of 300,000
students into Britain stems from its pledge to reduce net
annual migration from outside Europe to below 100,000 from the
2009 level of 184,000.
But the impact will come from non-EU students, who account
for some 139,000, but which, according to the Home Affairs
Committee, could `cripple` the country`s thriving education
sector, valued at up to ?40bn a year.