Chris Bryant MP, Labour's Shadow Immigration Minister, commenting on warnings today from university heads that changes to student visas could harm British universities and cost the economy billions of pounds a year, said:
“The Tory-led Government is so inept that not only is it hitting legitimate students and the billions they bring to the economy but it is also failing to meet its own target on immigration.
“Bogus colleges and students who are not here to undertake study need to be tackled. But the Government must also listen to the 68 senior University figures who have warned that its policies are impacting on legitimate students who contribute billions to the UK economy and help support jobs. Instead this Government is failing to tackle illegal immigration and risks costing the economy billions of pounds in investment.
“David Cameron said 12 months ago, 'No ifs. No buts. That's a promise we made to the British people.’ Yet the latest figures show his promise on immigration is being broken and the net migration figure of 252,000 is barely changed in the last two years, even with the net rise in British citizens leaving the UK.
"The gap between this Tory-led Government’s rhetoric on immigration, and the reality, is getting ever wider. It is failing on border control, failing on illegal immigration, and failing to live up to the promises it made on net migration. However these failures should not be allowed to lead to a bearing down on legitimate students with all the beneficial investment they bring.
"The Government needs to be straight with people on its immigration policy, and instead of further weakening the economy it needs to work for stronger and effective controls and tough action on illegal immigration too.”