Leading NRI industrialist and educationist Lord Swraj Paul has said that Britain must remove students from the Net Migration Target as the current immigration system has affected UK's higher education market, with competition emerging from countries like India and China.
"London continues to attract many of the most able international students but the challenges posed by changes to our immigration system mean the numbers are falling in comparison with the United States, India and China," Lord Paul, Chancellor Wiolverhamption and Westminster Universities, said while participating in a debate in the House of Lord on the contribution of high quality education to economic growth.
"The changes to the immigration system is affecting our Higher education market - currently valued at 5 billion to the UK economy and forecast to rise to 16.9 billion (pounds) by 2025. Therefore, I believe we must remove students from the Net Migration Target as most are here for only a short time," he said last evening.
Noting that the opportunity to participate in education, and gain skills, must be available to all, Lord Paul said, "this will help grow the economy and ensure that we have a skilled workforce ready to meet the challenges ahead."
Other countries, he said, are accepting this challenge. "The government of India has set a target to have 40 million students in higher education by 2020, when it is forecast that India will supply 12 per cent of the world's graduates. China is expected to produce 29 per cent of all higher education graduates by then."
Higher education, he said, is now a bigger industry in the UK than the aircraft industry, agriculture or even the pharmaceutical industry.
"Universities generated 59 billion to the UK's output in 2009 during the first year after the Recession and created 670,000 jobs either directly or indirectly. Yet the UK is still placed by the OECD at 7th place for the skills level of its general population, which indicates that we need to provide more resources for adult learners," he added.