Sir James Dyson is urging the Government to exclude international students from official immigration figures in order to encourage talented Maths, Science and Engineering students from around the world to continue studying, and consequently working, in the UK.
This plea coincides with the triggering of Article 50, which officially set Brexit into motion last Wednesday. The government is now expected to increase its efforts to curb immigration.
The billionaire industrial designer has criticised the UK’s system for educating some of the world’s brightest students before sending them home along with the skills they acquire.
Currently, EU students must find employment within six months of graduating in order to remain in the UK whilst non-EU students must find employment within four months.
Attracting bright Engineering students to the UK is of particular interest to Sir James, who recently collaborated with the University of Warwick’s Manufacturing Group (WMG) to develop a new degree aimed at aspiring engineers.
The four-year degree is set to launch this September and will be taught at Dyson’s Research and Development campus in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. It will differ from other Engineering degrees by covering more specific content on electronics and mechanical engineering.
In an interview with the Press Association, Dyson commented: “I wouldn’t want the Government to target that area. We should make Maths, Science and Engineering students that come to stay in this country welcome here.
“I am very much against targeting them. I think they should be excluded from the immigration targets.”
Shabaab Khondker, a first-year Engineering student agreed: “I think international students studying in the UK would welcome Sir Dyson’s comments. Personally, I feel that the skills we are being taught at university are better suited to the UK job market and any policy offering greater flexibility for international students would be much appreciated.”
In response to Dyson’s plea, a Government spokesman has stated: “We remain committed to attracting the brightest and best students to the UK and there is no limit on the number of students who can come here to study.
“In 2016, visa applications for Russell Group universities increased by 6% showing that our world-leading educational institutions continue to appeal to people from across the world.”
“As international students, like other migrants, who stay for longer than 12 months in the UK have an impact on communities, infrastructure and services it is right they are included in the net migration statistics.”