Aggressive immigration debate harms UK soft power worldwide


A new report by a parliamentary committee has warned the ruling coalition that the new immigration policies are harming the country’s standing in the world. A report from the Select Committee on Soft Power says that changes to the Tier 4 student visa, in particular, are damaging the UK’s reputation.

In addition to that, the aggressive tone during the debates that surrounded immigration policy has diminished the UK soft power too. It is now necessary that the government ensures that all applicants receive good immigration service. According to the Soft Power committee, the soft power is not based on either financial or military strength, but on cultural influence and personal relationships.

Therefore the British educational sector is one of the major contributors of soft power for the UK. It is estimated that 18% of all students in the UK come from abroad and they contribute more than 17 billion pounds to the country’s economy each year. In addition, those that study in the UK are likely to maintain ties with it in later life.

Many national leaders studied in the UK including Bill Clinton of the US (Oxford), Manmohan Singh of India (Cambridge) and Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan (Oxford). In 2011, 27 serving heads of states had studied at some time in the UK. Many foreigners, who graduate from UK educational institutions go on and serve on high governmental positions in their home countries.

This significantly contributes to the soft power that the UK has around the globe. Therefore the coalition’s efforts to reduce the net immigration on any price are significantly damaging the country’s reputation, by discouraging international students to come to the UK. There are also many international students, who enter daughter institutions that are established by UK universities abroad.


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