Its Official (Sort of): Labour to Scrap Net Immigration Targets

Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, told a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference that she would abandon the net migration targets set (and missed) by the present government. These targets have been much criticised by businesses,  universities and immigration lawyers.

She said Labour would set specific targets for different types of immigration- they will address UK student visas, Skilled Migrant Visas, Work Visas, and Family Visit Visas separately.

She said “We think immediately what should happen is that students… should be taken out of the net migration target straight away”.

She criticised the net migration calculation for its failure to distinguish between types of immigration which are significantly different.

This is a significant move in a climate of escalating anti-immigration rhetoric and in the months leading up to the next General Election. Labour will be concerned to prevent anti-immigration UKIP and others from presenting this position in a misleading way to the significant part of the electorate who appear to be primarily concerned about migrant inflow- so we can expect this statement to feed political debate over the coming days and weeks.

Labour will be expecting UKIP to seize on this statement its ongoing efforts to recruit “disaffected white working-class Labour voters” (where do they get the idea that politicians are so manipulative?).

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

Overseas Students Subtracted From Labour’s Maths

Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, speaking to a fringe meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration that the government’s immigration policy has been distorted by its focus on net immigration targets and particularly criticises its impact on overseas student numbers.

Labour, she says can do better. They would impose a series of targets and controls distinguishing different types of immigrants and excluding students.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

Video – Get UK Student Visa – UK Immigration Barrister

I have uploaded a video on UK Student Visa (how to get a tier 4 (General) UK student visa). You can view the origin page here.

Get UK Student Visa

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

Applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa

I have uploaded an audio file dealing with Tier 4 Student Visa Applications. The origin page can be found here.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

Clegg Critical of “Rigidities” in UK Visa System

Emboldened by distance (he is in India) and the proximity to the end of the coalition (2015 is General Election year) the Deputy Prime Minister is speaking his mind on immigration.

Nick Clegg, on a trade visit to India, spoke out after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi. His tone contrasted with the that of recent utterances on immigration issues from the Home Secretary and Prime Minister which have been hostile and unwelcoming- designed to appeal to core Tory supporters.

Clegg calls for a relaxation of visa rules affecting students and some workers from India and other non EEA countries and speaks of a more welcoming attitude to foreign students (which wouldn’t take much, after all). The official government approach is to cap numbers of students (as part of a vote-winning squeeze on immigration generally). Clegg also suggested science and engineering graduates should be given more extra leave to remain at the end of their studies.

Prospective students from India are reported to have been deterred for coming to Britain by bureaucracy.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers.

Heseltine Says: Don’t Cut Student Visa Numbers

Lord Hesleltine (the former Conservative Minister and Deputy Prime Minister) has responded to the Universities UK/British Future think tank poll (see Public Support for UK Student Visas post, below) by pointing out that “the public do not see students who come and go as part of the immigration problem” and that students bring “huge financial stability” to universities. In other words he is effectively telling PM Cameron that he won’t be getting any popularity points for reducing numbers of UK Student Visas (the public are not stupid enough to swallow that trick) and since such reductions would come at a considerable public cost, he risks getting his fingers burned. Well said.

Public Support for UK Student Visas

A poll carried out on behalf of Universities UK and think tank British Future suggests the British public do not support the present government’s attempts to limit the number of UK student visas issued in future. This follows last month’s Prime Ministerial statement of intention to reduce net migration to the UK and to set absolute numerical limits on the number of UK student Visas issued. International students are the largest single group of migrants from non EEA states to be counted in the Governments reduction figure.
The study reports surprise expressed by poll participants when they are told that students are counted as immigrants for this purpose. 59% of participants thought the government should not reduce the number of international students. Around 75% of participants felt international students should be allowed to stay on an work in the UK after their studies.
It seems there is a gulf between the support shown for general populist anti-immigration policies as described in dumbed-down form in an attempt to foster public support in the last months before the next general election, and the opinion of the British Public when they are properly informed about these policies. The truth is that international student are a large and easy target- reducing their numbers is the quickest means to achieve the government’s self-imposed immigration targets.
But this approach comes at a cost to the nation- international students contribute significantly in financial terms to the UK; And what is the benefit, exactly? The politicians showcase policies about foreign criminals, immigrants seeking to take advantage of benefits or the NHS or people coming to work illegally and and the end of the trick they hope to appear (by sleight of hand) to have reduced immigration numbers (concealing the fact that its mostly a different kind of immigrant they’ve counted).
Educational providers, who as registered sponsors fulfil part of the pre-visa suitability checking process, will lose their highly trusted status if 10% or more of their Certificate of Acceptance (CAS) students fail to get a UK student visa.