UK Immigration post-Brexit: Overseas Students and the numbers Game

Can the UK Tory rebels push the UK government for better deal on International students? 

The UK Government’s aim to reduce net migration, post-Brexit, to below 100,000 a year will inevitably affect foreign students. Students from India have been particularly hard hit by the successive restrictions to further and High education in the UK. Restricting the number of foreign students would make it easier to achieve the target.

It is reported that 134,000 foreigner students arrived in Britain on Student Visas  in the 12 months to last September, during which net migration totalled 273,000.[1

However, Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, is facing a revolt from within her party who are adamant on exclusion of foreign students in the immigration figures. The reasons for the resistance to immigration restriction especially targeting foreign students, are given as follows:

  1. The Government’s proposed Policy is based on inaccurate student migration data.
  2. Plans to differentiate the visa regime for universities according to their “quality”  on the basis that that the “best” students should be accepted and its impact on reputable Universities that do not make this grade. 
  3. The reduction in overseas applications which will inevitably affect the education sector and the wider UK economy, as Higher education is one of UK’s most successful exports.
  4. Its affect on the UK’s international relations and trade (where the restrictions will have a disproportionate impact on certain countries such as India). 
  5. The Impact on the UK economy from Foreign students spending which increases revenue
  6. House of Lords Report on the “Higher Education and Research Bill Amendment: International students and the Lord Hannay amendment proposed to the Higher Education and Research Bill proposes to exclude students from the ‘economic migrants’ category (

The amendment has received cross party support.and is due to return to the House of commons by the third week of April.

The UK’s stance on “going global” post Brexit will be reflected in Government’s final decision on the policy of student visa restrictions. The politics behind international relations between UK and India and ambitions for increased trade will be in the backdrop of the paradox between India’s support of its students internationally. Further the challenges of India’s skilled working population working in the face of ever increasing UK immigration restrictions. Both the countries need to be on the same page. How can India and UK bilateral trade increase if the UK restricts the free movement of people in a globalised world, post-Brexit? 

Getting the right advice and assistance on UK immigration post-Brexit is vital. Lex Meridian offers a specialist UK immigration barrister led service in Delhi. If you need advice and assistance on a new application or a Visa refusal contact us today on Delhi  +91 11 41601800 ,  UK +44208123999  or Email us:



Tory rebels push government for better deal on overseas students-

May rebuffs pressure to exclude students from migration target-

Opinionated articles-

[1] Andrew Grice, Theresa May faces rebellion from her own MPs over foreign student numbers, The Independent, April 15, 2017 (