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IPPR - New figures demonstrate 'wild overestimation' of non-EU students overstaying their visas

IPPR Research Fellow Marley Morris commented on a report in last Thursday’s Times that 'around 1%' of international students overstay and break the terms of their visa, according to initial findings from exit checks data, 

'The news confirms our own latest research, which revealed that the government could be wildly overestimating the number of non-EU students staying in the UK after completing their studies. We found that the figures used by the government contrast sharply with other available data sources, which suggests the government’s student migration policy could be based on chasing ‘phantom’ students no longer in the country.

'This has profound consequences for the Home Office’s policy on international students. Further restrictions on students would do serious economic harm, garner little public support, and be based on highly dubious data. The government should instead reform its policy to ensure that students are no longer subject to a stringent target and to create new post-work opportunities for graduates with the skills we need.

'It also raises some serious questions about the ONS migration figures, which are derived from the International Passenger Survey. Given international students make up such a large component of the figures, it is possible that the government could be significantly overestimating net migration to the UK. A detailed, independent investigation is needed into the reliability of this data source and how it can be improved.'


Ella White,, 0755 7995 131


IPPRs recent report, Destination education, looked in detail at the issue of international student migration and the limits to current government policy. More information can be found here.

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