Government launches study into impact of international students
The Government is today launching a major investigation into the effect international students have on the UK.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it was crucial for ministers to have a "robust and independent evidence base" on students' contribution.
The work will be undertaken by the Migration Advisory Committee, the same body Ms Rudd has already asked to produce an analysis of the impact of EU migrants on Britain's society and economy.
The MAC's latest project is being launched on the same day as the first data is released from a new series of exit checks designed to give a clearer picture of the numbers coming in and out of the UK.
Previous migration statistics were based on survey estimates, but the new system is set to give a more accurate picture by counting people out of the country.
There has been a particular disparity between the numbers coming here to study and those estimated to be leaving, with the gap estimated at 110,000 people between 2012 and 2015, prompting questions about how many students were overstaying their visas.
The MAC's new study will look at how international students' spending affects the national, local and regional economies, along with looking at overseas students' impact on the quality of education received by British students.
"There is no limit to the number of genuine international students who can come to the UK to study, and the fact that we remain the second most popular global destination for those seeking higher education is something to be proud of," Ms Rudd said.
"We understand how important students from around the world are to our higher education sector, which is a key export for our country, and that's why we want to have a robust and independent evidence base of their value and the impact they have."
The chair of Universities UK, Alistair Jarvis, welcomed the investigation, saying: "This is an opportunity to build on the considerable evidence that shows that international students have a very positive impact on the UK economy and local communities."