Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper spoke at the Labour Party conference in ManchesterReuters

The Institute of Directors has backed the Labour Party over its call for the UK government to exclude international students from its net migration target.

The business body, which represents around 36,000 company directors, commended the shadow home secretary for "making such a pro-business move".

Yvette Cooper, speaking at the annual Labour Party conference in Manchester, said previous Labour governments had "got things wrong on immigration".

"But look at what this government is doing now," Cooper said.

"[The Prime Minister] David Cameron promised 'no ifs, no buts' he would meet his net migration target [of less than 100,000 people by 2015].

"Theresa May boasted last year that her progress on her target was 'an achievement to be proud of'."

"Yet net migration is the same now as when they came to office. Their target is in tatters."

Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, said businesses will be "very glad to hear that Labour understands their concerns on immigration".

"The current approach is not working," Walker added.

"IoD members are also worried that treating international students like other migrants will limit their ability to get the skilled staff they need."

The comments come after the Office for National Statistics said that long term net migration to Britain rocketed to 243,000 in the year to March.

The research body said that immigration to the UK for study remained stable at 177,000 in the year ending March and study visas granted in year ending June 2014 rose 7%, reflecting higher levels of university-sponsored applications.