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zcoalitionfailimmigration

Yet another Coalition policy has leapt up to bite David Cameron in his tender parts.

His government’s “contradictory” immigration policy has caused a 10 per cent drop in the number of international Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students coming to the UK over the last two years.

This is because the government is simultaneously committed to reducing net migration and attracting increasing numbers of international students (by 15–20 per cent over the next five years).

Owing to its – by now – internationally-renowned stupidity, the government has not removed international students from the net migration figures. This means that UK policy is both to attract foreign students and reject them.

No wonder the Lords inquiry into whether the UK’s immigration policy has had any impact on the numbers of international students in STEM subjects has declared the UK “unwelcoming“.

Nobody should be surprised by the Tory-led Coalition’s twisted attitude, though – it seems to reflect attitudes across the UK as a whole.

As Tom Pride reports on Pride’s Purge: “On Question Time last week, Giles Fraser told a funny story which nicely illustrates how batty the whole discussion over immigration has become in the UK.

“He said he’d got into a conversation with a taxi driver who told him he was so fed up with the number of foreigners coming to live and work in the UK he was going to move to Spain.

“Well just in case anyone thought this kind of absurd opinion was a one-off – have a look at this recent survey by respected polling company ComRes.

“When asked if all citizens of other European Union countries should have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom, just 36% of British people agreed.

“But when asked whether British people should be free to live and work anywhere in the EU, 52% of British people agreed.”

One has to ask whether this position has been impressed on the British public by newspapers like the Daily Mail or the Daily Express.

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Tom concluded: “If someone doesn’t bring some common sense to the immigration debate soon, the UK is in danger of becoming a laughing stock.”

Too late, Tom!

“When we really need to send the message that international STEM students will get a warm welcome in the UK, they’re getting the cold shoulder and heading elsewhere,” said Lord Krebs, chairing the Lords Committee.

“International student numbers have fallen dramatically, in particular from India.  As a result we’re missing out on the talent, the economic and cultural contribution that international students bring when they come here to study, and our competitors are reaping the rewards.”

He said: “The overwhelming evidence that we received led us to conclude that changes to the immigration rules in this country have played a direct part in putting overseas students off from choosing the UK.

“The rules are seen as too complex and subject to endless changes, the visa costs are not competitive, and the rules relating to work after study are so limiting that prospective students are heading to the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere.

“Allowing just four months for a student to find work after graduation is more or less tantamount to telling overseas students they’d be better off going to study elsewhere.”

The Lords have made a series of recommendations but these will put the government between a rock and a hard place.

Does Cameron give in – and be accused by the tabloids of going soft on immigration – or does he stick to his guns – and turn away all the talent he’s so keen to import*?

*We learned yesterday that Free Schools have ruined the chances of any British students ever being able to compete.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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