The UK government has commissioned its independent advisers on migration to complete a detailed assessment of the social and economic impact of international students in the UK.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will examine the impact both EU and non-EU students have on the labour market and economy whilst in the UK.
The other issues MAC will consider include: the impact of tuition fees and other spending by international students on the national, regional, and local economy and on the education sector; the role students play in contributing to local economic growth; and the impact their recruitment has on the provision and quality of education provided to domestic students.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “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.
“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 UK is the second most popular destination for international students, with 4 UK universities in the world’s top 10, 16 in the top 100 and international student satisfaction in the UK at 91 per cent for undergraduates.
The UK Government should stop wasting time by chasing after non-existent student visa overstayers, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has said. Latest statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that in the year ending March 2017 total long-term net migration to the UK was 246,000, compared to 327,000 in the year ending March 2016.
Last year the UK saw an increase of 6 per cent in visa applications for Russell Group universities while visa applications sponsored by universities are 17 per cent higher than they were in 2010.
Home Office says this has driven in part by an effective and user-friendly visa system which sees 99 per cent of entry clearance applications decided within the target of 15 days and the grant rate for Tier 4 (General) visa entry clearance applications having increased every year since 2010, with 96 per cent of applications granted in 2016.
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We have always been clear that our commitment to reducing net migration to sustainable levels does not detract from our determination to attract international students from around the world.
“Since 2010 we have clamped down on abuse, while increasing the number of genuine students that come to the UK from around the world.”
The MAC, which comprises of a group of internationally recognised experts in their field, is responsible for providing transparent, independent and evidence-based advice to the government on migration issues. They have been asked to report back by September 2018.