Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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University chiefs must foot the bill if foreign students stay in UK, says Commons migration committee chief

01 May 2017
Rip-Off Britain

FAT-CAT UNIVERSITY chiefs should have their pay cut if foreign students don’t go home at the end of their studies, a powerful Commons Committee chair has declared.

Labour’s Frank Field said the universities themselves should also face a multi-million pound fine – and have their quotas cut – if their students ‘overstay’ their visas.

A report in February revealed 11 vice chancellors now have a pay package worth more than £400,000, with the average topping £275,000 for the first time.

Mr Field said the new system would help restore public trust in student immigration – so Theresa May could open the borders to talented migrants seeking a higher education course.

Experts claim as many as half of the 160,000 students coming to Britain on average each year have ended up staying – adding to the huge pressure on public services.

Officials believe the student visa route has been abused for years. Theresa May as Home Secretary launched a withering crackdown on ‘bogus’ colleges offering migrants who couldn’t even speak English an easy route into the UK.

The University of Bedfordshire was banned from sponsoring foreign students after an investigation into visa fraud in 2014.

Frank Field – who co-chairs a parliamentary group on migration with Tory veteran Nicholas Soames – said: “Of course we want vice chancellors to earn their salaries by expanding their universities.

“But they also need to be given the duty of making sure their overseas students return home.

“If the vice-chancellors fail to fulfil their duties on overseas students, their quota should are brought down and part of their salary docked.”

At the weekend, UK universities were urged to “push back” against the Government’s tough stance against student immigration. Professor Michael Ignatieff, the president of Europe’s top university, said tightened visa controls were a threat to academic freedom.

Mr Field and Nicholas Soames have written to the vice chancellor of Birmingham University to suggest creating a working group to address the issue.

Birmingham was one of a number including the University of Hull and Cardiff Metropolitan who had 600 fewer international students in 2015-2016 than 2014-2015.

In the letter - seen by The Sun - the pair write: "We are determined that this reduction should not be allowed to become a permanent trend across the higher education sector.

"To ensure the public are willing to support this initiative we would suggest that the working group should propose measures by which universities take responsibility for students departing for home after their degree and a period of work experience here."

Steve Hawkes, The Sun


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