UK Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has ordered officials to conduct an investigation into the impact of immigration on Britain's state schools. Officials have been asked to look into how much of a 'pull factor' Britain's free education system is to immigrants looking to enter the country.
Government ministers want to clampdown on overseas nationals entering the UK primarily so that their families can receive a free-state school education. There were also concerns that the main reason why some immigrants study at UK universities is so that they can work in the UK. The UK government has recently concentrated its efforts on making Britain less appealing to migrants by tackling what they call 'health tourism' and 'benefits tourism'. They now wish to reduce "education tourism".
Welfare entitlements for migrants arriving in the UK from outside the European Union have been cut. Additionally, in an attempt to reduce health tourism, non-EU migrants are charged 150% of the cost for treatment on the NHS following new legislation passed on April 6, 2015.
Mrs Morgan wants to determine if the rising number of immigrants entering Britain can, in part, be due to 'education tourism'. Morgan believes that Eastern European families are arriving in the UK as education tourists, with the main attraction being the opportunity to learn English, which is widely thought of as being the global language of business.
UK Trying to reduce number of Tier 4 visa students
UK Immigration intends to implement new immigration rules to further tighten Tier 4 visa requirements, to reduce the number of overseas students at UK universities. As part of Home Office plans, are new rules that would target foreign students wanting to study at some of Britain's 'less prestigious universities.'
Overseas students not studying at one of Britain's top 20 ranked universities such as Oxford, Cambridge of Durham, for instance, would find it more difficult to obtain a Tier 4 visa as part of a government policy to attract only the 'brightest and the best.'
Although ministers have set a target of reducing net migration to tens of thousands per year, recently published data reveals that there were 300,000 more people emigrating to the UK than leaving the UK.
The ongoing Mediterranean crisis had led to the arrival of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Europe and North Africa. In Calais; a camp known as 'the Jungle' is currently home to thousands of immigrants attempting to reach Britain's shores, leading to major disruption and chaotic scenes with people attempting to storm the border.
Schools struggling to cope with students who cannot speak English
The Teachers' Union has warned that schools are straining under the pressure of trying to integrate an ever increasing number of pupils speaking a combined total of 300 languages. At one in nine schools across Britain, English is no longer a majority language. In some parts of East London over three quarters of students don't speak English as a first language.
Mrs Morgan has decided to launch an investigation into the effect of immigration on Britain's state schools, ordering civil servants from the Department for Education (DfE) to carry out a review.
It's expected that the investigation will lead to new measures that will help teachers to deal with issues relating to pupils who don't speak English. The problem of non-English speaking children is said to be more of a concern during the formative years of primary school. The problem is said to be worse in certain areas of the country, where immigrant families make up a large portion of a community.
A senior government source said: "It's crucial for every government department to play their part in tackling immigration. As we have a cross-governmental focus on reducing immigration and tackling illegal immigrants, the correct step is to assess the role that the education system plays, not just in respect of the impact but as factor in attracting people to Britain in the first place."