Thursday, 17 March 2011

Dissent over Student Visas

The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) have called on the Coalition Government to stop trying to reduce the number of student visas. Their report, published today, criticises many aspects of government proposals. They highlight the planned crackdowns on pre-degree programmes and language requirements which I have highlighted before.

The reports I have personally heard and seen (on the BBC Website, BBC Radio4, and in The Metro) quote Keith Vaz, the Chair of the Committee and a Labour MP. What the reports fail to mention is the membership of this Committee (besides the BBC's use of "cross-party" in their strap-line).

The HASC has 11 members. Of these 5 are Labour members and 5 are Conservatives. The other member is a LibDem. This puts the Coalition parties in the majority. However, the condemning report has still been published.

There is one noticeable pander to Immigration Minister Damien Green's ideas; the report "supports the Government’s intention to crack down on bogus colleges and bogus students." Although I expect this is as much as populist statement as it is a party political one.

It appears that there is dissent among Conservative back benchers. Some of them the new guard who won seats in the 2010 General Election including: Nicola Blackwood, who defeated LibDem Dr Evan Harris; Micheal Ellis and Lorraine Fullbrook, who both won back seats held by Labour since 1997.

Hopefully the Government will take note of this report, and the Committee's membership. If they don't, and the proposals go to Parliament unchanged, I expect to see some revolting Conservatives.

No comments:

Post a Comment