More than two thirds of Britons want to see a limit imposed on the number of foreign students coming to the country, a survey has found. Study is the most common reason for people coming to the UK for more than a year and seven in 10 people would like to see a cap imposed, the poll of almost 3,000 adults showed.
Britons also backed tough enforcement action over immigration offences, with most saying that bogus students with insufficient English skills, those working instead of studying, and those who have overstayed their visas should all be deported.
The survey of 2,910 Britons for the campaign group Migration Watch UK found 70% said there should be a limit on the number of foreign students coming to Britain, while only a fifth (22%) were opposed.
Those polled were told that some 250,000 foreign students from outside the EU come to the UK every year to study, providing universities and colleges with valuable income, and about one in five stay on legally.
But the lack of exit checks means it is not known how many go home at the end of their studies.
A different poll of more than 1,000 people last year by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford found only one in three people wanted to see student immigration reduced.
The latest survey comes after universities minister David Willetts said last week that the Government plans to show the number of students leaving the country under plans to improve its net migration figures. The Government wants to reduce net migration from the current 216,000 to “tens of thousands” by 2015.
Mr Willetts also announced a £2 million fund to support international students who must transfer to another course from London Metropolitan University after the Government revoked its highly-trusted sponsor status.
The UK Border Agency found more than a quarter of a sample of students studying at the university did not even have permission to stay in the country. (Belfast Telegraph)