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There are 95% fewer illegal student migrants than Britain thought

Article in The Economist
4 September, 2017

Lies, damned lies and statistics… Migration policy debates are full of all of them. They contributed much to the vote on Brexit.

“That error led to a needless, costly crackdown on universities…

On August 24th it emerged that the number of students illegally overstaying their visas was a small fraction of previous estimates. Figures from the Office for National Statistics had suggested there could have been more than 90,000 overstayers per year. New data showed that there were at most 4,617 in 2016-17…

Universities have nevertheless welcomed the release, grateful for a new way to make the case for international students. They have not had much luck in recent years. During Mrs May’s time at the Home Office she introduced a range of policies to deter foreign students, often justified by the number overstaying their visas…

While Britain was making life harder for foreign students, other countries wooed them. As a result, British institutions now have a smaller share of a larger market.”

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