Senior Conservative Party officials have thrown out plans by the Home Secretary Theresa May to expel international students after graduation, the Financial Times reports.
It comes days after billionaire British inventor James Dyson slammed Mrs May’s proposal as a “short-sighted vote chaser” that would lead to “long term economic decline”.
Under the plan graduates would have to leave the UK and make an ‘Out of Country’ application for work visas, a far more difficult and time-consuming process that Mr Dyson said would “de-motivate” would-be engineers and scientists who would instead take their British-learnt skills elsewhere.
According to Wednesday’s Financial Times, “senior Tory officials” – said to have been led by Chancellor George Osborne – have quashed Mrs May’s request to include the plan in the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto.
One Conservative official told the FT: “We have a policy that international students can stay when they graduate if they find a graduate-level job paying £24,000 a year. That remains the policy.”
Mrs May had proposed the curbs on international students as the government struggles to meet its targets for net migration as immigrants from Eastern Europe flock to the UK.
She said that foreign students were a major factor behind rising immigration, warning that the number of overseas students in the UK would rise to more than 600,000 by 2020 if left unchecked.
However, Labour party officials as well as academics and university activists had all backed Mr Dyson’s argument saying that Britain needed skilled graduates.
University groups also warned that Mrs May’s plan risked Britain being perceived as an “unwelcome place” for international students, who contribute more than £7 billion to the economy annually.