We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Higher Education and Research Bill - Committee (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:00 pm on 25th January 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Willetts Lord Willetts Conservative 8:00 pm, 25th January 2017

My Lords, I support the amendment introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Hannay. As my noble friend Lord Patten displays such a close familiarity with Conservative slogans, let me add a second—one of the great Brexit slogans, “Take back control”. I do not see why our migration policy should be determined by the United Nations. No other country says its policy should be determined by how the United Nations has chosen to define immigration. If we want to take back control, I do not see why we should allow our policy to be determined by the United Nations. We should take back control of our migration policy and set it in accordance with our national requirements, rather than allowing this dangerous, global institution to decide who we should or should not count as migrants. As well as being about global Britain, the excellent proposition from the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, is about taking back control.

I have two brief questions for the Minister. We all appreciate the difficult position that he is in. One of the problems for universities has always been planning ahead and marketing themselves around the world when there is always a danger of further changes to the migration rules. If there is anything he could say that would indicate that the Government are not planning any changes in the regime for overseas students that would be a modest but helpful step.

Secondly, could the Minister indicate where he thinks education could sit within the industrial strategy? In the brief reading I have made of the documents so far, what has surprised me has been that I did not immediately see education in the list of key potential sectors. I hasten to add that education is not simply a business sector; it has a value in its own right. Nevertheless, it is a very successful British export. If, in response to the consultation on the industrial strategy, there were a message from the education sector that it would like to be backed by the Government in an exporting mission and be seen as an important part of GDP, I hope the Minister would be able to indicate that they would strongly support education as a key British export sector as part of their industrial strategy.