Responding to reports Theresa May will be forced into dropping foreign students from official immigration figures, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:
“For years Theresa May has stubbornly refused to accept that international students are not immigrants, while the Home Office has wildly exaggerated the number of those who overstay.
“This absurd policy has fuelled concerns over immigration numbers and done serious damage to our universities.
“It’s about time the government dropped this completely self-harming approach.
“International students generate over £25 billion for our economy and support thousands of jobs across the country.
“We should be encouraging more students to come and spend their money in the UK, instead of needlessly hampering one of Britain’s most successful export industries.”
Minsters are preparing to take foreign students out of immigration figures despite opposition from Theresa May, research by Universities UK has found international students now generate more than £25 billion for the UK economy.