Further analysis of the ONS' immigration figures shows that the decline is driven by a reduction in student visas. In the year 2011-2012 a mere 209,804 visas were granted for purpose of study (excluding student visitors), a falling 20 per cent compared with year before.
The Institute of Directors' Simon Walker has written on the importance of international students to the UK economy:
The reputation and quality of UK universities draws the best and brightest students from all over the world. Many of these graduates go on to contribute to our businesses and research institutions. Even those who leave upon the completion of their studies maintain trade and business connections. In a recent survey of international graduates, four out of five said that they planned to develop professional links with businesses in the UK in the future.
No of people coming to UK to work has been falling since '07. It's student immigration which is now falling tmblr.co/ZFXaYyfBAUIE— Ed Conway (@EdConwaySky) February 28, 2013