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Foreign Students

Volume 128: debated on Thursday 25 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services in what circumstances foreign students in Britain, supported by grants from their own Governments, are entitled to full supplementary benefit; how many students are currently claiming; and what has been the cost to the public funds in each of the last three years.

Most foreign students are not entitled to supplementary benefit—except in emergencies—as they are admitted to the United Kingdom on the basis that they will be self-supporting and will not have recourse to public funds. However, students from other EC member states (and certain other European countries) can qualify for supplementary benefit on the same basis as British students; that is normally in the summer vacation only, and provided they are available for temporary work. The number of such students receiving benefit is not known but is thought to be minimal.