Pressure on Home Office as universities reveal bigger cash boost from foreign students
International students boost the UK economy by £25.8bn a year and must be offered a “welcoming climate” in Britain, Universities have said amid a fears the Home Office could restrict numbers.
Ministers have delayed plans for a consultation on restricting student visas, with officials apparently seeking to cap the number of new sign-ups to some universities.
Vice Chancellors claim international students spend £11bn a year to study in Britain, but according to new figures by the Oxford Economics consultancy for Universities UK the total number is far larger.
The £25.8bn figure includes the boost of friends and family coming to visit and the 206,600 jobs created by their spending.
Dame Julia Goodfellow, vice-chancellor of the University of Kent and president of Universities UK, said: “The spending of international students and their visitors now provides a major export boost for the UK economy.”
She added: “This is a potential growth area and there is scope for the UK to welcome more qualified international students and build on this success.
“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-Brexit."
Campaigners have argued students should be removed from net migration figures, but the Government has refused to make such a move.