UK government to review its approach to international students, as a new study revealed the huge economic contribution they make to UK’s economy.
International students add around £25.8 billion to the UK economy, with their contribution spread well beyond London, including its more deprived regions, according to research by Oxford Economics for Universities UK, the body that represents the nation’s universities. According to the research, international students paid £4.8 billion in tuition fees, and billions on goods and services and activities on and off campus,
The tuition fees paid, non-EU students accounted for a large percentage of these: totalling £4.2 billion. Even visitors to these international students spent over half-a-billion over that period.
“The spending of international students and their visitors now provides a major export boost for the UK economy,” said Julia Good fellow, President of Universities UK, adding that there was potential for the UK to grow its share of the global market for higher education. “To do this, we must present a welcoming climate for genuine international students and ensure that visa and immigration rules are proportionate and communicated appropriately. This will be even more important as the UK looks to enhance its place in the world post-Br-exit.”
According to immigration figures published by the official statistical agency, 41,000 fewer international students came to study in the UK in 2016, the lowest level since 2002. Indians account for just 6 per cent of a total of 10,798 student visas granted in 2016, below the US (13,701 or 7%) and China (76,225, or 39%). Earlier this year, Indian’s High Commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha highlighted the drop in Indian students in the UK, pointing to the fact that many were now choosing other countries including the US, Germany, Australia and France. “There is something going wrong here because the UK has obviously been the first preference for Indian students.