The Home Secretary Theresa May today announced the Government’s plans for limits on the number of non-EU migrants entering the UK. The annual limit for those coming into the UK under the skilled and highly skilled routes (Tiers 1 and 2 of the Points Based System) will be reduced from 28,000 to 21,700.  A separate consultation will be launched before the end of the year focusing on international students applying to study in the UK.

GuildHE CEO, Andy Westwood, commented:

“We welcome the recognition that degree level students and researchers will be protected to some extent and of course we support any crackdown on bogus education provision.

“However, we are concerned that sub-degree level provision is apparently being singled out. Apart from the fact that this is bound to impact on students who would otherwise progress from pre-degree courses to degree courses, this fails to appreciate the world standing of our FE colleges and their reputation for technical and vocational excellence.

“Together FE and HE provide the progression routes and vocational specialisms that are internationally recognised. Sacrificing this will be a mistake and surely an unintended consequence from immigration policy designed to satisfy other purposes.

“We will welcome the opportunity to contribute to the consultation in due course. But we would want to emphasise the point that international students should not be seen as economic migrants. They add value to our institutions and to the UK as a whole.”

For more information and comment, please contact:

Andy Westwood
Tel: 020 7387 7711
Mobile: 07970 007142

Notes to editors

1. GuildHE is a recognised higher education representative body. Its 32 members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in the sector. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please click here

2.  The Home Secretary’s statement can be downloaded in full from the Home Office website