Published: 00:01, 12 September 2016
MP Julian Brazier has called for non-EU students to return home after finishing their studies in Canterbury.
The Tory backbencher raised the issue in Parliament after statistics revealed two-thirds of students flout immigration rules by staying on in the UK after completing their courses.
Speaking to the Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill during Home Office Questions, Mr Brazier said: "It is essential that our excellent universities continue to attract students from all over the world, but does he agree that it is not sustainable to go on with a situation in which almost two thirds of all non-EU students who come into this country stay?
"Our existing rules need to be enforced."
There are about 3,400 non-EU students currently studying at the University of Kent.
Mr Goodwill said: “It is very important that when people come here to study from abroad and gain a qualification, they take it back and improve the development of the countries from which they came.
"Our universities are there to educate, not to act as a bypass for immigration controls" - Julian Brazier MP
“It is not the intention that getting a place at a university in the UK is a licence to stay for the rest of someone’s life.”
University of Kent spokesman Martin Herrema says international students are not eligible for student loans and the university has no control over what they do after completing their studies.
Mr Brazier said: “Poll after poll has shown that around three quarters of people in Britain are concerned about unsustainable migration levels.
“The vote to leave the EU, where immigration was a key concern for many voters, was a clear message that the government must now take concrete action.
“International students bring money and contribute to the diversity of thought in universities in Canterbury and around the UK and help to build links with the next generation of opinion formers.
“But the rules for international students need to be enforced. Our universities are there to educate, not to act as a bypass for immigration controls.
“The Office for National Statistics data shows that nearly two thirds of international students are staying in Britain after finishing at university. This is not sustainable and I am glad that the Minister agrees.
“Commitment to reforming and better enforcement of the rules are steps in the right direction.
"This will ensure that Britain get the brightest and the best in sustainable numbers, and we can rebuild public confidence in the immigration system.”