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UK to review student visa policy


The Home Affairs Select Committee, wants David Cameron to review the post study work visa which allowed students to work for at least two years after they finished their studies.

MP Keith Vaz, former chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee and up for re-election this week as chairman stated, 'When looking at this situation, the home affairs select committee recommended a review of post study work visas to alleviate the clearly negative elements of the current policy.'

He spoke of the decline of Indian students as 'a serious problem for our educational institutions, our economy and for the students themselves.'

An earlier report by the Home Affairs Select Committee reported that a cap on student visas would be undesirable stating that 'any cap could seriously damage the UK's higher education industry and international reputation.'

Scotland MPs are working to override Parliament and introduce a special visa to allow international students to work for at least two years after they finish their studies in Scotland.

A cross party steering group with representatives of all major political parties in Scotland has been set up by Europe and International Development Minister and Scottish MP Humza Yousaf.

Read the full article on the review of student visa policy on Migreat

How are the UK government addressing international students?


Jo Johnson, in his first speech as universities and science minister cited the economic and social value brought to the UK by international students. He expressed concern at students being made to feel unwelcome.

In the past year, more than 19,000 international students were told to leave the UK or refused entry in government’s crackdown on allegations of language qualification fraud. From these, for the year to April 2015, it has been discovered that 900 were held in detention centres after being served with removal notice.

Johnson stated it was “right that we have reformed the student visa system to ensure that students who are not genuine cannot abuse the system. And we will take proportionate action to deal with overstaying wherever our new system of exit checks shows it to be an issue.”

Johnson added he was "concerned that some feel the UK does not welcome students as warmly as we once did and that there has been a decline of student numbers from some of our key partners, most notably India" The number of Indian students coming to the UK fell from 18,535 in 2010-11 to 10,235 in 2012-2013. 

With the immigration bill changing “deport first, appeal later” from criminal cases to all immigration cases, if passed, the policy could affect students too and universities are worried that the reduction in the number of students coming to the UK from key countries will continue, given rhetoric, and the continued inclusion of students from net migration figures.

Read more about international students and immigration at Migreat

New visa levy could affect businesses


The UK government announced in the Queen's speech a proposed new immigration bill. It stated it would try to make it illegal for businesses to recruit just from abroad alone without advertising those jobs in English in the UK.

Within the proposed laws in the bill, the UK government plans to launch a consultation process on the introduction of a new visa levy on businesses recruiting from abroad.

Businesses employing foreign labour will have to pay a new visa levy which will be used to fund apprenticeship schemes for British workers.

The government has stated 'A consultation will be carried out on funding apprenticeship schemes for British and EU workers by implementing a new visa levy on businesses that use foreign labour.'

It is not known when the scheme will be branched out, however, if the proposed visa levy is imposed it could impact workers being hired from countries outside the EU.

David Cameron announced 3 million more apprenticeships over the next five years and a new law to ensure the minimum wage remains tax free, however many young apprentices are missing out on the minimum wage and applications for apprenticeships were at a high of 1.8 million for only 166,000 posts last year.

This is not the first time the current government has introduced additional visa fees, for example through the health surcharge, charging migrants to gain access to the NHS in the visa application, even though migrants use the service less frequently.

A million ethnic minority votes helped put David Cameron into No10


New research from British Future suggests a shift in BME voting patterns in the UK General Elections, with the Conservatives closing the gap on Labour on ethnic minority votes in particular because of British Asians and those in the South of England.

In the 2010 elections, Labour secured 68% of ethnic minority votes and the Conservatives, on the other hand, secured only 16%.

In the 2015 elections, Labour support remained in the lead amongst BME voters on 52%, however, the gap has narrowed and the Conservatives took a third (33%) of ethnic minority votes in the General Election, equating to around 1 million votes, in part due to the Asian vote, particularly Hindus.

Asian support this election was at 50% for Labour and 38% for Conservatives. The evidence suggested that while BME Christians and Muslims preferred Labour to the Conservatives, Hindus and Sikhs preferred the Conservatives to Labour. The Tories received 49% of the Hindu and Sikh community vote, with Labour on 41%.

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said "Ethnic minority votes are more ‘up for grabs’ than ever before. Labour remains ahead with minority voters, but the party may have won too many of its minority votes in the wrong places electorally – doubling majorities in heartland urban seats that were already safe but slipping in the southern marginals."

While Labour may be hopeful of winning these votes back in 2020, Omar Khan, director of the Runnymede Trust added "with more and more BME people moving outside the major cities the Conservatives appear well placed to make further gains in 2020 and beyond if they can respond to ethnic inequalities and realise BME aspirations while in government."

Record number of foreign firms creating jobs in London


New research by London & Partners, the Mayor’s business and promotional company, has revealed a record number of foreign firms coming to London to start business.

Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, has said 'Over the last decade foreign investment in London has gone through the roof and the tech sector is now leading the way'

There has been a large rise of job creation by foreign tech companies as well as financial and business services and the life sciences industry.

A total of 270 different companies have been set up, creating around 5000 jobs in the capital.

Within this, this year, Indian companies are the second largest job creators in London, creating 504 jobs, second only to Americans who have created 1,983 jobs. Chinese companies have created around 277 jobs. Foreign firms in London include forefront global companies such as Pfizer and Tata Elxsi.

Ten years ago only 26 companies moved to London, and in the last financial year a record 108 companies have set up shop in the capital.