Visa Crunch

A recent survey suggests international students coming to the UK yields enormous economic benefits

According to a study released currently, an annual intake of international students at British universities yields £390 in economic activity for each person in the UK, soaring to more than £700 for each resident of London. When the costs of teaching assistants and their use of government infrastructure are factored in, 272,000 international students starting university courses in 2018-19 will generate nearly £26 billion in net economic activity.

That indicates that just ten international students from outside the EU will have a net economic impact of £1 million during their studies. The figures are based on an analysis of tuition fees and other expenditures by each age bracket of international students, including those from the EU, and the subsequent multiplier effect on the economy in respect of employment created and additional spending. The study, conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and Universities UK International (UUKI), revealed that international students benefit the UK in a variety of ways.

The extra spending can boost the local economy in constituencies that are home to universities: the document estimates that nearly 3,000 students benefit Sheffield Central to the tune of £290 million, and Nottingham South to the tune of £261 million for each year’s worth of students. “While there has been a growing recognition of the immense social and cultural benefits of international students, this study serves as a poignant reminder of their financial importance to communities throughout the UK, fiscal stimulus, and the leveling-up agenda,” said Vivienne Stern, director of UUKI.

The numbers revealed that the financial benefits of international students far outweigh the costs of public services like healthcare. The total costs, including central government teaching grants, net NHS spending, and other social expenditures such as police and education, are just £2.9 billion. The figures compiled by London Economics do not take into account opportunity costs or any long-term benefits such as investment, business, or trade links.

The £26 billion net total is 19 percent higher in real terms than a similar analysis based on 2015-16 figures, owing to an increase in international student numbers. In 2015-16, 174,000 overseas students from outside the EU began their first year of study in the UK, rising to nearly 208,000 in 2018-19. According to the research, EU students generated approximately £4.7 billion in net impact, while students from outside the EU generated the remaining £21.3 billion. Those figures, nevertheless, refer to a time when EU students were still able to qualify for domestic fees and loans. EU-domiciled students have been charged the same higher tuition fees as international students since the Brexit vote.

The findings, according to Nick Hillman, director of Hepi, “confirmed that higher education is one of the UK’s leading export earners.” “We must extend a warm welcome, ensure that our educational offerings remain competitive, and assist international students in securing rewarding careers following their studies. “In many ways, the policy environment is better than it was, with the government gradually becoming more welcoming of international students. However, the current halving of EU students confirms that future success cannot be assumed,” Hillman said.

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