COMMONS

MPs concerned that over-hasty student visas policy could cost economy £3.6 billion

26 July 2011

In a report released today, the Home Affairs Select Committee highlighted concerns over a lack of an evidence based approach to student visas policy.

The committee is concerned that an impact assessment which highlights the cost of the student visas policy had been published 12 weeks after the policy had been announced. The assessment, which states the policy could cost the economy as much as £3.6 billion, has led to the committee concluding that the Government is failing to establish a solid evidence base before embarking on policy changes which could damage Britain's economic recovery.

The committee have long argued for an improvement in the way that the Government collects immigration statistics, a position supported by the UK Statistics Authority in their recent Monitoring Brief on Immigration Statistics.

Chair of the committee, Keith Vaz MP said

"The committee are fully supportive of the need to address the flaws of the current system of immigration. However the Home Secretary's dismissal of the Impact Assessment is very disappointing. The Government appears to be not only making policy without adequate immigration statistics, but also ignoring its own evidence. We reiterate the need for an immigration policy which is both evidence-based and does not adversely affect the British economy."

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