May tried to have this changed but it is an international convention which the government was obliged to stick with. More than any other country it skews the immigration figures of the UK.
I personally agree with the policy change because there is no other way for the UK to compete in global industries like software engineering, A.I., robotics, biotech etc etc. (N.B. 50% of Silicon Valley’s graduate intake every year comes from foreign students who have studied in the USA). Never mind the ability to man the NHS, employ suitable university lecturers, fill research and development posts etc.
It is correct to underline the point I made, which possibly was lost in the whole post, which is that this is a slap in the face for those hard line Brexiteers who want to see immigration capped and does nothing directly for the Labour heartlands of working class Leave voters who feel they have been ‘left behind’ and for this reason voted Brexit. That doesn’t make the policy change wrong though. It just underlines their misunderstanding of the reasons for their austerity. IMHO.
The result may well be a deeper split between the Tories and the Brexit party. Indeed, it may see some far right Tories split from Johnson and give a boost to the Brexit party as a force just as people were beginning to think they had had their day. That just increases uncertainty which makes me think these stock price rises may be short lived.
I also would like to underline another point I made though. Brexit limits opportunities for British citizens to study or work abroad (in the EU specifically where the right is actually removed) whereas this policy, from a seemingly 100% Brexit focussed government, opens up opportunities for hundreds of thousands of non-British citizens.
If I didn’t know better I’d say this may be a precursor to a Brexit deal which includes freedom of movement for British citizens and therefore continued freedom for EU citizens to work in the UK, something Theresa May insisted must end.
That would be too logical and sensible though and for many Leave voters (enough to swing a referendum) the whole point of Brexit would be lost. Perhaps that’s why this major, pro-immigration policy shift wasn’t accompanied by the same fanfare as billions more for the police, farmers, Scotland and all the other promises made by Johnson’s government. Strange, because it costs the government nothing and does more for the economy, potentially, than any of the other policies above.