Best, Brightest, and Unemployed: Student Immigration in the UK

The number of international students’ has been falling sharply in the UK. This has cost the economy billions of pounds. This short documentary follows the experiences of a student here, to understand why so many are going elsewhere.

The issue of immigration has been featuring prominently in British politics, with growing public intolerance towards newcomers. The British government has pledged to reduce net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands. This has led to the introduction of regulations to decrease student immigration. The programme follows the struggle of Chirasree Mukherjee who is failing to get employed in the UK despite being one of the ‘brightest and the best’.

It includes interviews with her parents in Kolkata who have funded her expensive education by mortgaging their home and other properties. They count on Chirasree to get a British job, to repay those loans. It also includes interviews with Lord Karan Bilimoria. He is an independent crossbench peer in the House of Lords, who came to the UK as an international student from India. He was recently appointed the president of UK Council for International Students’ Affairs (UKCISA). He talks about the benefits of international students’, and how other countries are competing to increase their number of international students – unlike the UK. It includes an interview with a lawyer to explain some of the legal aspects of student immigration, and he also touches on the government’s reasons for the restrictions.

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Lord Karan Bilimoria came to the UK as an international student from India. Photo: own

The programme follows the development of Brexit and Theresa May’s nomination, and what that would mean for student immigrants in the future. 

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