International students a burden to the UK?
Suella Braverman, Home Secretary, has recently launched an attack on migration and international students who enter the UK with dependents in tow. Suella’s concern was with their impact on the labour industry and the social and economic costs.
This is an attack on us international students. The international students fight different battles than the local students. We struggle with cultural differences, being a transplant, being alone in a strange new environment, being a foreigner. Those dependents that come with us, they are family, they are a reminder of where home is, what it feels like; they are home, our home, well a little piece of it at least to keep us sane, and functional.
Yes, indeed there is an economical impact because they may not be working in skilled labour markets. But Suella is also not considering the fact that Higher Education is one of the globally competitive export of the UK. If visas restrictions on dependents are to be tightened, future students will simply turn to other countries with less stringent policies. Suella’s actions will impact the extended future of these students. Her issue is with general migration, not just international students with dependents. It is possible that there will be more restrictions when it comes to work visas, extensions on student visas and other ways to stay in the country.
Suella, says she could seek to cut student visas to cut immigration. But what does it mean for current international students? The impact is likely to be minimal to students currently already on visas. But it will impact the future of current students if they require extensions, further studies or settle in the UK.
There are other more pressing matters that have more direct impact to international students such as inflation and what it means to international students, cost of living and loans. I will discuss this in another post.