British Prime Minister Theresa May has been forced to soften her long held stance on foreign students being included in immigration totals, a media report said. May previously rejected calls from senior members of her own Conservative Party to exclude the students from the calculations as the government attempts to bring down the number of migrants entering Britain, the Independent reported on Thursday.
In a bid to save the Higher Education and Research Bill, the government is likely to offer a “regulatory compromise” in how the number of overseas students in Britain is calculated, according to The Times. An estimated 134,000 international students arrived in 2015-16, the lowest recorded since 2002 and down by over 40,000 from the previous year.
A poll found that more than half of British people support increased immigration of highly-skilled workers. The combined research by Ipsos Mori and King’s College London found that 52 per cent people said highly-skilled workers should be admitted, compared with 12 per cent who disagreed.
Excluding the students would help the government to keep its pledge to reduce net migration to under 100,000, but May has repeatedly refused to do this. With around seven days to push through bills that would otherwise fall, May is said to have offered to change the way student numbers are calculated. She also promised further concessions to stave off the risk of it being defeated with votes from members of her own party.