Theresa May is considering slashing student immigration by 50%

Old Quadrangle, University of ManchesterWikipedia / CC 3.0Old Quadrangle, University of Manchester

LONDON — The government is considering cutting annual student visa numbers from 300,000 to 170,000 as part of a post-Brexit drive to lower immigration figures, according to the Guardian.

In October, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced a consultation on student visas, amid government concerns that too many students were abusing the system and staying after their courses ended.

Senior university sources told the Guardian that they have seen various government models for cutting immigration, including one to cut annual levels to 170,000. The government has dismissed suggestions that it has created models for even more dramatic cuts.

Foreign students are hugely valuable to the UK economy. Research shows that they support 170,000 UK jobs, and are worth over £10.7 billion ($13.4 billion) to the economy annually.

The head of a leading university told the Guardian that May’s proposals were “insane,” and said¬†that “politics is trumping economics.”

Polls have indicated widespread public support for existing levels of immigration. A ComRes poll in October found that three-quarters of the British public would like to see the same or an increased number of international students in the UK, and 91% of British adults believe that international students should be able to stay and work in the UK for a period of time after they have completed their study.

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