Press release

MillionPlus comments on the Home Secretary’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference

04 Oct 2016

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (4 October) commented on the Home Secretary Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, in which she announced a government consultation on whether the student visa system should be tailored to quality of course and institution, suggesting that some universities could see a cut in the number of international students they can recruit.

Professor Dave Phoenix, Chair of MillionPlus and Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University, said:

“All UK universities are quality assured and there is no evidence that international students currently being accepted on courses are poorly qualified. These students have high levels of retention and completion and already have to meet stringent conditions laid down by the Home Office to gain a visa.

“We shall be responding to the Home Office consultation but the real answer is for the government to stop treating international students as economic migrants and to take them out of the migration numbers altogether.”


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. UK Higher Education is ranked number one by international students in terms of satisfaction with their learning experience and they generate an estimated £7.2bn towards the UK economy, rising to £11bn when EU students are taken into account. More facts and figures can be found here
  3. BIS Research Paper Number 128 on The Wider Benefits of International Higher Education in the UK noted in 2013 that “A wide variety of benefits were identified… [including professional networks and their value to the UK economy]…. Almost all the alumni retain friends and contacts made while they were in the UK, now located worldwide including some in the UK. As potential professional networks these offer the possibility of future business transactions and collaborations of economic value to the UK. The extent to which alumni utilise these contacts for business is likely to increase as they progress to more senior positions.”
  4. Modern universities: key facts
  5. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email