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What’s really driving immigration

Graduation day at Nottingham Trent University. Instagram

Tomorrow, official figures will lay bare the “astronomical rise” in net migration to Britain, says Melanie Phillips in The Times. They are expected to show that despite “years of political promises to bring the influx down”, an astonishing 700,000 more people came into the UK last year than left the country. One of the main drivers is the vast number of foreigners coming to study at British universities. Last year, visas were granted to 485,758 international students, who brought with them 135,788 dependants. The government is introducing restrictions to cut the latter by around 100,000. But that won’t solve the real problem: the decision, taken almost three decades ago, to expand higher education.

Few people realise that most universities, in most of their courses, actually lose money teaching British students. To offset that loss, they bring in huge numbers of international students who they can charge higher fees. By propping up “sub-standard university courses”, these foreign students enable young Britons who aren’t actually up to academic study – and who would be much better off in vocational training – to waste three years getting a degree they don’t need. That, of course, leaves employers with a dearth of qualified British workers – which they fill by recruiting from abroad. So immigration begets immigration. “This is, to put it mildly, no way to run a railroad.” Limited immigration is of course a good thing for a country. But our current “population explosion” is totally unsustainable.

❤️🇬🇧 There is a plus side to all this, says Marie Le Conte in The Independent. Before the UK left the EU, the “doomsters and gloomsters” warned that Britain was shutting itself off from the world, and would be “treated with scorn” by everyone else. Instead, more people than ever are moving their lives here. “The weather may be bad and the taxes may be high, but you just can’t keep them away.”