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NUS responds to Brexit report's support for international students

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The National Union of Students has responded to its recommendation being adopted into the Education Select Committee's Brexit report.

The report is an inquiry into the impact of the UK voting to leave the European Union on universities and higher education. It adds to the calls made in Parliament for international students to be removed from net migration targets.

Net migration is the difference between people immigrating to a country and people emigrating from the same country during the year.

In its report the Education Committee has said: “International students should be removed from the net migration target.

"The Government’s refusal to do so is putting at risk the higher education sector’s share of the international student market.

"Removing international students from the target would be a simple way to offset some of the risks from leaving the European Union.”

Lina Dobreva, the vice president for education at the University of Sunderland, said: "I would be supportive of the idea (of removing international students from the net migration target.

"I think matters concerning education should be treated differently, especially when the contribution that students are making in order to come and study is so big.

The NUS was invited by the Committee to give oral evidence to its inquiry in January 2017, along with other representatives from UK universities.

Sorana Vieru, the former NUS Vice President (Higher Education), called for international students to not be continually used as a “political football” in the UK’s debate on immigration.

The Education Committee took into account the evidence and adopted the recommendation. 

But the government has not followed the recommendation set by the committee and was not included in the amendments published yesterday. Sorana Vieru said: "For too long, international students have been mistreated by hostile immigration policies that make them feel unwelcome in the UK.

"It has been too easy for them to become a political football because of their inclusion in net migration targets, which is no more than a blunt tool.

"NUS is delighted that the Education Select Committee has joined students and the higher education sector in overwhelmingly calling for these students to be removed from these targets.

"This week, the Government has an unprecedented opportunity to take decisive action in removing international students from net migration targets when the Higher Education and Research Bill inevitably returns to Parliament before it dissolves.

"This is the time that the Government should listen to the clear message from students, from the sector – and now from a prestigious Parliamentary Committee – that this is the right thing to do.”

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