By Matthew Knott, News Editor of Study Travel Magazine

The release of the latest migration data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics showed an increase of around a third in inbound migration and has led to a fair amount of debate about the folly of the government setting such an election pledge to reduce the numbers to “tens of thousands”.

There are numerous variables that the British government simply cannot control; citizens from EU member states can freely move to the UK, and the figure also relies on a certain number of people leaving the UK. One commentator on a BBC politics show described the government’s policy as being “as pointless as promising no rain in February”.

And the government persists in capturing international students within the data. With some departments trying to welcome international students with open arms, the potential for conflict is clear.

Actually, within the ONS data there was a statistic showing that 15 per cent of students issued a study visa in 2007 have legally remained in the UK immigration system after five years. Surely this is the point at which a student becomes a ‘migrant’.

Also in the ONS release was a positive 14 per cent growth in six-month student visa visas in 2013 to 77,664 – this data also includes the 11-month Extended Student Visitor Visa ESVV for the English language sector. A spokesperson from English UK said the association was seeing gradual take up of the ESVV route and further displacement from the Tier 4 student visas, but did caution that student weeks for 2013 appeared to be flat.

Elsewhere, the university pathway sector is surely one of the growth areas of international education, and we covered two new developments there this week. Global language provider Bridge has launched four campus-based pathway colleges for entry into USA higher education. Interestingly, the provider is leveraging its position in the Latin American region: one of the pathways colleges is at a university in Brazil; Bridge is offering recruitment support to its partners; and President Jean-Marc Alberola is encouraging study abroad in the opposite direction from the partner institutions into countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Germany is also seemingly a buoyant language study destination. This week, did deutsch-institut announced a new junior residence for 2014 in its ‘home city’ of Frankfurt as well as plans for junior residence campuses alongside all its year-round adult schools. Further evidence of Germany’s growth is provided by our Market Analysis Germany feature this month.

Hopefully you have received the March issue of Study Travel Magazine by now. Other features this month include a special look forward to this summer’s World Cup in Brazil and its impact on inbound and outbound study travel , our cover story on innovations within the summer sector and a focus on Panama and Costa Rica as study destinations.

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