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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.

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Photo of Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve Crossbench 8:00 pm, 25th January 2017

My Lords, I felt that this part of the debate would not be complete without the voice of the overseas student. I was an overseas student. I did my PhD at Harvard. The process for getting a visa was rather fierce. I remember going to the American embassy in London with a chest X-ray in a very large brown paper envelope and there were other things that had to be produced. When the time came to leave, I had an American husband and a baby with an American passport. That made no difference. I was a foreign student who had come in under a particular programme, with a particular sort of visa, and I had to leave.

The point that is relevant now is that it is the accuracy and precision of the control process that prevents any drift from student status to economic migrant status. This is what matters and pretending that they are one and the same does not really address the problem. The problem is surely clarity about categories and controls.