Foreign students not so good for economy

IT was very disappointing to see Seán Kelly MEP (Letters, October 18) getting sucked into the myth about the benefit of large numbers of foreign students here.

When are Irish politicians going to learn to take the longer view? Is that not the very lesson recent events are supposed to have taught us.

Does Mr Kelly not realise the figures constantly trotted out by the Government about the money “brought into the country” by foreign students are nonsense. They get that money, in probably a majority of cases, by taking jobs in this economy which young Irish people could do with. They must have money in the bank to get in, but this is borrowed from relatives and returned when their visa is secured.

Does Mr Kelly not realise they do not want just to study and return home but to stay here for years, if not forever. Hence the problem of student overstay documented by countries like Britain.

Does Mr Kelly not know that most of the sham marriages here are among students trying to get residence.

The issue of foreign students is a very difficult one for immigration control and needs great rigour – not the ‘open sesame’ advocated by Mr Kelly.

It is time that a major campaign was begun in this country to encourage graduates to give back by funding their alma maters, as is done in the US, for instance.

Áine Ní Chonaill

Immigration Control Platform

PO Box 6469

Dublin 2

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