EEF response to the inquiry on international STEM students

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EEF has responded to the House of Lords' Science and Technology Committee inquiry into international STEM students.

For further information, download the full submission below.

  • Skills are central to manufacturers achieving their ambitions on innovation, exporting and growing their business. However growth plans continue to be restricted as companies struggle to access the skills they need.
  • Three-quarters of manufacturers say finding employees with the right skills is one of their key business concerns and over half said it was their main concern. Moreover, four in five companies say they are currently experiencing recruitment problems.
  • Manufacturers rely on the recruitment of graduates to help meet their skills needs, particularly those that hold degrees in the sciences, technologies, engineering and maths (STEM). Non-EEA students are included within this talent pool. 
  • Government policy should not restrict this talent pool; however, it is our fear that current migration policy is doing just that. In particular, we are concerned around migration policy that impacts upon non-EEA students and graduates, especially those studying STEM subject or who have graduated with STEM degrees.
  • Of particular concern to manufacturers was the decision to abolish the Tier 1 post-study work route, which we believe should be restored.
  • We also need to look at the bigger picture – the image UK plc is sending out to international students. The UK is a global leader in higher education provision, and we do not want to see this reputation hampered by migration policy.
  • At a time where manufacturers are facing acute skills shortages, impacting their ability to win and fulfil orders, we need a migration policy that attracts as much highly-skilled international talent as possible, including STEM students.

Author

Head of Education & Skills Policy

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