provide a better indicator of how many people leaving the UK first came here as
students. The ONS uses this data to estimate that in the year to September
2014, 133,000 non-EU students came to the UK to study for more than 12 months
while only 48,000 left - a difference of 85,000. This is partly because
students are able to extend their Tier 4 visa or switch into another
immigration route in-country, and so remain in the UK. Therefore student
emigration or the lack of it is a key driver of overall net migration.
The Immigration Act 2014 has provided new powers to implement exit checks,
which the last Labour government scrapped in 1998. The data collected by exit
checks will provide the most comprehensive picture we have ever had of whether
those who enter the UK leave when they are supposed to. The Act will also stop
migrants using public services to which they are not entitled, reduce the factors which
encourage people to come to the UK and make it easier to remove people who
should not be here.