Britain wants you! Why the UK should commit to increasing international student numbers
Published date: 28 Nov 2013
Download full publication Purchase via print on demand
How can cutting net migration be squared with strengthening the UK’s position as a leading destination for international students? This report reviews the effects of the Coalition government’s policies on the international student visa regime and their wider impact on the education sector, sets out the best available data and evidence on student migration to the UK, and recommends more effective approaches to growing and overseeing our international education sector.
The Home Office’s net migration target has created a perverse incentive for the government to reduce the number of international students – officially counted as ‘migrants’ if they stay for over a year – in order to achieve an overall reduction in migrant numbers. By contrast, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is promoting growth in the international education sector, whose exports are estimated to be worth £17.5 billion to the UK economy – BIS anticipates that numbers of international students in higher education will grow by 15–20 per cent over the next five years. The Coalition’s policies are not only confusing and incompatible, but are harming the UK’s economy.
The UK needs a student visa regime that clamps down on abuse – but also one that is open and flexible enough to attract foreign students in a competitive global market. Above all, the government needs to unequivocally commit to increasing the number of international students studying at British education institutions.
This report outlines the Coalition government’s approach to policy on international students, provides an overview of the recent data and trends, and draws together research that illustrates the impact of international students and policy on the national economy, local areas, and institutions in different parts of the education sector. It charts the sector’s future prospects based on current trends, explores examples of successful policy in other countries, and also includes detailed case studies – including original polling of the perceptions of Indian nationals who are considering studying overseas.
Its key recommendations include:
- the abandonment of the net migration target, which is a bad measure of policy
- investment in gathering improved longitudinal data about students’ pathways through the immigration system
- more selective and targeted screening of prospective international students, and greater support for education institutions that are licensed to sponsor them
- introducing a modest levy on international students for NHS coverage, equivalent to the typical cost of private medical insurance for a student (around £100–£200 per year), but offsetting this charge with corresponding advantages, including increased working rights during and after study
- an intelligence-led independent review of the burgeoning student visitor visa route to monitor any unusual patterns.
Analysis of polling data shows that when it comes to guessing who makes up the immigrant population, public perception differs widely from reality.
In the news
Not intelligent to clamp down on foreign students
The Independent - 02 Dec 2013
Foreign students put off by work rules
The Telegraph - 29 Nov 2013
Author(s) : Jenny Pennington - 29 Nov 2013
You may be interested in...
IPPR in the news
Ministers are 'not trusted'
Daily Mirror - 14 Apr 2014A real alternative to loan sharks
Sunday People - 14 Apr 2014Politicians of all stripes suffer sharp fall in trust
Telegraph - 14 Apr 201436% have faith in the parliamentary system
Metro - 14 Apr 2014
Labour pledges to introduce Regional Ministers
ITV News - 09 Apr 2014Putting the voice of English regions at the heart of decision-making
The Independent - 09 Apr 2014Labour's plan to 'bust open' civil service
Guardian - 09 Apr 2014Young electorate showing disenchantment with today’s politics
Financial Times - 08 Apr 2014
Labour's plans to boost Whitehall diversity
Evening Standard - 07 Apr 2014Dugher plan to 'bust open' Whitehall to 'working class'
BBC News Website - 07 Apr 2014Dugher will announce higher diversity targets for civil service
Independent on Sunday - 07 Apr 2014Tim Finch on The Big Migration Debate
BBC World Service - 07 Apr 2014
Michael Dugher: We need a more representative civil service
Mirror - 07 Apr 2014Politicians don't care about young people
Huffington Post - 07 Apr 2014Spencer Thompson on European jobs and skills (8min 30)
BBC World Service - 04 Apr 2014Graeme Henderson on greater collaboration between Scotland and North (1hr 36)
BBC Radio Cumbria - 04 Apr 2014
Summit will address funding for NW creatives
Manchester Evening News - 03 Apr 2014The UK's future lies in well-skilled work
The Guardian - 02 Apr 2014Hancock unveils 77 new tech levels at European Jobs and Skills Sumit
FE Week - 02 Apr 2014It’s not just prison books that are under threat, it’s British justice
The Telegraph - 02 Apr 2014