Liberal Democrats will seek to use amendments to the Higher Education Bill to force the Government to back down on curbing the numbers of international academics and students coming to the UK to work and study.
Amendments tabled by Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Minister, John Pugh, include a bid to block any move to use the new ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ – which will assess the quality of universities, from being used to determine whether students should be eligible to stay in the UK after completing their studies. The idea of discriminating in the visa system based on university attended was publicly backed by Theresa May’s top aide, Nick Timothy, before he entered Downing Street.
The amendments also include measures that would force the Government to assess the economic benefits of overseas students and researchers to universities, in a bid to embarrass the Government into removing students from the immigration figures.
Commenting, John Pugh said:
“Without welcoming international students, many of our top universities would struggle to be financially viable.
“The idea of restricting students coming here to study, or preventing universities from recruiting the best scientists and academics, is simply short-sighted.
“It would hurt our global reputation and our economy at the same time.
“Instead of embracing our role on the world stage, Theresa May and her team are trying to use international students and academics as political pawns.
“They should take these vital groups out of immigration figures altogether and accept that we can only succeed by bringing the best minds to Britain.”