Immigration: UCU Commentary

The parties’ policies on student immigration vary widely. Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all make reference to tightening up on abuse in the student visa system, with the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives both promising action against institutions which fail to ensure visa compliance. As part of this action the Conservatives would also limit the number of ‘satellite campuses’ operated by universities.

The Green Party, Plaid Cymru, Scottish Nationals and Liberal Democrats all advocate for the introduction of visas which allow graduates to work in the UK following graduation. For Plaid, this would appear to be limited to Welsh graduates taking employment in Wales, and the Liberal Democrats restrict their proposal to STEM graduates.

The Greens and Plaid Cymru propose that immigrants should have access to English (and Welsh) language learning. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats also reference English language requirements relation to immigrants seeking visa extensions or Jobseekers’ Allowance. The Green Party also proposes an extension to the Youth Mobility Scheme to encourage more students from poorer countries to study in the UK.

None of the parties have proposed to remove students from the overall migration figures, although the Liberal Democrats have suggested that student numbers should be published separately within the statistics.