Conservative manifesto promises condemned by UK stakeholders

 In News

The Conservatives released its slate of pledges for the upcoming general election on July 4, and include a promise to remove the student discount to the Immigration Health Surcharge.

All visa fees will also be going up if the Conservatives win the public’s vote.

“We will increase all visa fees and remove the student discount to the Immigration Health Surcharge to raise more money for public services,” the manifesto read.

Speaking to The PIE News, Dave Amor, director of Higher Insights, said the visa fee proposal would “decrease UK competitiveness with other countries”.

“[It] would be seen by international students as exactly what it is, an unnecessary and unfair attempt to extort more money out of students looking to select UK universities for further study.

The National Union of Students, which strives to represent all students across the UK, condemned the move, saying it would “punish international students who contribute to our education system and society”.

“As will forcing them to pay an increased Immigration Health Surcharge or take out private health insurance,” the NUS said.

Tom Pinder, who runs his own consultancy, told The PIE that while it puts students in line with other UK entrance, the increase the second rise in just four months.

“This is on top of the recent hike from the previous charge of £470 to £776m,” Pinder pointed out.

“[Some] £1,035 per year is a 33% increase on a figure that was only just, and a whopping 120% increase on that original figure!

“What’s more, despite this fee, research has repeatedly shown that international students are some of the least likely members of society to engage with and utilise the NHS, and also pay a tremendous amount in tax and national insurance to help contribute to the running and maintenance of public services,” noted Pinder.

Amor also noted that students shouldn’t have their discounts taken away, because of the absence of evidence that “they use services more heavily than they pay for them”.

Research has repeatedly shown that international students are some of the least likely members of society to engage with and utilise the NHS

Tom Pinder, Tom Pinder Consultancy

The manifesto said it will also “go further” in line with other countries “by requiring migrants to undergo a health check in advance of travel”.

“[We would be] increasing their Immigration Health Surcharge or requiring them to buy health insurance if they are likely to be a burden on the NHS,” the manifesto noted.

“These measures and the demeaning requirement of a health check for migrants will only harden the hostile environment,” the NUS responded.

The manifesto also said the party will “continue to attract the brightest and best students to study in our world class institutions” – but Pinder said the pledge “smacks of lip service”.

“[It] is consistently undermined by a febrile desire to limit immigration by any means necessary, frequently by making studying in the UK increasingly unaffordable,” he added.

The post Conservative manifesto promises condemned by UK stakeholders appeared first on The PIE News.

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