Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, made a speech to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham on 4 October 2016 announcing a proposed policy to boost the proportion of British workers within the UK and create a stricter Resident Labour Market test for companies to pass before they are able to employ workers from overseas.
Rudd stated: “The test should ensure people coming here are filing gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do.”
Rudd continued to endorse the potential new policy to reduce the number of overseas students from outside of Europe. She suggested the inclusion of a multi-tiered student visa system so the right to work in the UK after graduation would be determined by the quality of the University attended and the course undertaken by the student. Evidently, this provides that these new plans would make it tougher for foreign students to undertake study here and go on to undertake work in the UK following completion of their studies.
In response to Rudd’s speech, Labour MP for Sheffield Central stated that “International students bring £8bn a year to the UK economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs across the economy. Education is one of our most successful export industries. The only people cheering today’s announcement will be our competitors.”
Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University of College Union, also added that”International students make an enormous contribution to UK higher education, both educationally and economically. As highly skilled people, they make an invaluable contribution to our economy.This proposal to limit overseas students to particular universities and courses equates to pulling up the drawbridge and sending a message that the UK is closed for business. Ministers need to take a very different approach and support universities by removing international students from the net migration target altogether.”