Caroline Ansell confirmed today (Friday) she is one of 30 Conservative MPs who have written to the Prime Minister asking for the removal of international students from the net migration figure.
The Eastbourne and Willingdon MP said the issue was of great importance to the cluster of language schools in Eastbourne which, in addition to their international students, bring in thousands of younger pupils to stay in the town to learn English in the summer holiday season.
She argued that removing international students from the target would lower the immigration figure by around a quarter in official terms and allow a more accurate debate to take place around migration.
Mrs Ansell said, “International students from 200 countries pump £7.3 billion a year into the economy and when they are here the vast majority build a love for our country that brings business and investment opportunities to us for decades afterwards.
“In the post-Brexit world we need these relationships more than ever and everything must be done to ensure they continue to flourish.
“I’m pleased we have no cap on the number of international students allowed to study in the United Kingdom, but there is a real danger the Government’s perfectly reasonable drive to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands will impact on students able to come here to learn, if they remain included in the migration figure.
“To send out a message to the world there will be fewer international students able to come to the UK would be short-sighted and harmful to this country and I have asked the Prime Minister to look at the issue.”