The All Party Parliamentary Group for International Students held a meeting, its first since the General Election, on 12th July 2017 in the Thatcher Room at Portcullis House. The new panel consists of Lord Karan Bilimoria (who was the keynote speaker at the BAISIS conference last March) as Chairman, with Paul Blomfield MP as Co-Chair, Nicky Morgan MP as Secretary, Baroness Uddin as Treasurer and Geoffrey Robinson MP as Vice-Chair.
Caroline Nixon, General Secretary of BAISIS (British Association of Independent Schools with International Students www.baisis.org.uk) represented the independent schools sector at the meeting. The panel spoke about issues including off-putting governmental messages going out to prospective international students; the need to remove international students from net migration figures; the benefits, both financial (international students bring £25.8 billion per annum into the UK economy) and influential (1 in 10 world leaders were educated in the UK) of international students coming to the UK; and the need to allow international students to remain in the UK after graduating. Without changes we would, as a country, lose out to our competitors. Ken Gill, Chief Executive of NCUK, Martin Barrow of the China-Britain Business Council and Yinbo Yu, NUS International Students’ Officer, also spoke.
Asked how schools, universities and members of the public could best support the aims of the APPG, Nicky Morgan urged all those present and those that they represented to speak to their individual MPs. It was felt that nearly all MPs did support the aims listed above, and it was only due to a few people at the very top of government that this was not happening. Nonetheless, the more pressure brought to bear on every MP the better.