'It's a terrible idea': Higher education think tank director condemns PM's plans to restrict foreign students

22 May 2023, 09:32 | Updated: 22 May 2023, 09:39

'We don't want to bring the numbers down': HEPI Think Tank director slams govt plan

By Abbie Reynolds

The UK makes "40 billion pounds a year from international students" and it would be a "terrible idea" to deter them from studying here, think tank director Nick Hillman has said.

This comes as the Conservative Party consider legislation to ban dependents travelling with international students below PhD level in an attempt to combat high levels of migration.

Former Special Advisor and Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute think tank, Nick Hillman, spoke to Nick Ferrari.

When asked what he thought of the government's proposed plans, Mr Hillman said: "I think it's a terrible idea, we're really good at higher education in this country and these people they'll just stop coming to the UK and go to study in Australia and Canada instead."

READ MORE: Channel migrants are often 'lower-skilled people' and represent 'burden on the British state', Robert Jenrick tells LBC

"But to those who say 'But that gets the numbers down, that's exactly what I'm trying to do'," Nick challenged.

"It will get the numbers down," Mr Hillman admitted, "but I would suggest we don't want to get these numbers down."

He went on: "I've been in election campaigns and on the doorsteps people are worried about immigration but they're worried about people who might take the jobs and houses that they might need for themselves.

"International students aren't really doing that they nearly all go home afterwards with warm thoughts of the UK. Some of them stay here and then they tend to work in the public sector filling in holes where there's a gap."

The ex-special advisor went on to stress the economic positive of international students: "We published a report last week that showed that we make as a country 40 billion pounds a year from international students and that the benefits are spread throughout every consistency of the UK."

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak 'to consult independent ethics adviser' over Suella Braverman speeding claims

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Tom Weatherall is still searching for his treasured medals which went missing in France

Renewed plea for missing medals lost in France as RAF veteran gifted with set of replicas

'Economically Brexit's working': Nigel Farage says but claims it has 'not been properly implimented'

'Economically Brexit's working': Nigel Farage says but claims it has 'not been properly implemented'

Nigel Farage says Germans should 'get a sense of humour' amid calls for football fans who chant 'Ten German Bombers' to be prosecuted

Nigel Farage says Germans need to 'get a sense of humour' if football fans sing Ten German Bombers chant

Nigel Farage in the LBC studio today and (right) on the Reform UK campaign bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire this week

'This is how ordinary people speak': Farage defends Reform UK candidates after anti-Islam and far-right comments exposed

Exclusive
Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride was put on the spot by an LBC listener from a "Blue Wall" constituency rained down a barrage of complaints about soaring mortgages, the NHS crisis, crumbling schools and roads, and dentist shortages.

'Why would anyone sane vote for the Tories?': Minister put on the spot with barrage of complaints from LBC listener

Mr Weatherall's lost medals

Nick Ferrari offers £500 reward for return of RAF veteran's medals lost yesterday in Ranville, France

Kemi Badenoch rules out serving alongside Nigel Farage after he hints at Tory takeover.

Nigel Farage 'wants to destroy the Conservative Party', Kemi Badenoch tells LBC

'We've got to give these people justice': Ministers vow to address any criminal wrongdoing in infected blood report

'We've got to give these people justice': Ministers vow to address any criminal wrongdoing in infected blood report

'Minuscule state' of RAF is 'utterly pathetic' meaning just one plane available for D-Day 80th anniversary parachute jumps

'Minuscule state' of RAF is 'utterly pathetic' with just one plane available for D-Day 80th anniversary parachute jumps

Chancellor brands Labour plan to tackle small boat crossings 'absolute joke' which will 'encourage more people to come'

Chancellor brands Labour plan to tackle small boat crossings 'absolute joke' which will 'encourage more people to come'

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick said Conservative voters were "on strike" and needed Rishi Sunak's government to be honest about the mistakes that have been made.

Tory voters are 'on strike' and Sunak needs to be 'honest' to keep them on side, Robert Jenrick says

The UK government is 'deeply concerned' about the assault on the Rafha crossing in Gaza and wants to see a 'credible military plan' from Israel.

UK government 'deeply concerned and need to see credible military plans' after Israeli offensive on Rafah crossing

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley has said that anyone using a 'swastika in the context of the Middle East crisis' will be arrested.

Met police chief pledges to arrest protesters using swastikas at Gaza protests

Sir Mark Rowley said filming interactions with police at protests had become "intrusive".

Filming police at protests is 'physically intrusive' and 'escalates situations', says Met Commissioner

Exclusive
Kemi Badenoch has launched a 'call for input'.

Gender-neutral toilets could lead to ‘schoolgirls getting UTIs because they don't want to share’, minister says

Exclusive
Met police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley spoke on LBC on Wednesday

Female officer’s hand reattached as Met chief reveals horror injuries suffered by police in Hainault sword attack