Greg Clark gets it wrong on international students

Last night, Greg Clark made his first major speech on higher education to the UniversitiesUK annual conference. Addressing an audience of HE enthusiasts, think-tanks and Vice-Chancellors, he refused to back the many sensible calls to remove students from the net migration cap.

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This is bad for our universities and it's bad for Britain. Tonight, I'll be telling the same conference that Labour is committed to reversing this decision and supporting higher education. Here's an excerpt from my speech:

"Our ambition is simple: world class higher education and a world-class higher education system. But to be world class, you have to welcome the world's best minds. Not ban them, because somehow you're' 'full'.

'Greg Clarke could have jumped free of this nonsense last night and he didn't.

He's trapped in a mind-set that means, as NUS discovered, 51% of students outside Europe believe this UK Government is either ‘not welcoming’ or ‘not at all welcoming’ towards international students.

What a triumph it’s been. Delivering for the first time in 29 years, a fall in foreign students enrolling here.

No-one wants open door immigration. We need systems that work for all by tackling exploitation to stop people being undercut.

But legitimate overseas students boost not burden our economy; they enrich not endanger our future.

And that’s why Labour would remove legitimate international students from the net migration target”