Give the international student market the credit it deserves

The Economist has stated that in 2008 the international student market was worth £2.9 billion in fees and another £2.3 billion in spending to the UK economy.

Our guest writer is Ranjit Sidhu, founder of Statistics into Decisions

Earlier this month, immigration minister, Damian Green told the Today programme that the number of visas given to international students was “a hot political topic”. He misses the point – they are an economic necessity. Mr Green would not admit whether there was or was not a benefit to this country from these international students. The fact’s speak for themselves.

The Economist has stated that in 2008 the international student market was worth £2.9 billion in fees and another £2.3 billion in spending to the UK economy – a total of more than £5 billion. Another benefit was that, having studied here, individuals would be more likely to work with UK companies and organisations when they returned to their country of origin. This ‘soft power’ network has benefited the US for decades.

The Government argues that it is not a good use of resources that one-in-five foreign students stay after their visa has expired. But this 20 per cent of international students are not staying illegally. Instead, they will either be carrying on with postgraduate degrees (fees revenue) or finding employment (tax revenue). What is wrong with 70,000 young, gifted, hardworking people staying in the UK? With an aging population this should surely be desirable.

In 2010, the number of study visas increased by 35 per cent to 362,000. Assuming a pro rata increase in revenue, this implies £3.7 billion in fees and £3.2 billion in other expenditure. So over the last year, this export industry has brought an extra £1 billion in revenue into this country.

By targeting the 70,000 international students who choose to stay in this country after they have finished their course, the Government is failing in its role of promoting the British economy. Worst still, if it chooses to restrict this industry by limiting the number of study visas it will not only hamper our universities in the international market, but send a message across the world that the UK government is not behind its higher education sector.

If we do not want these young, intelligent, motivated people to provide billions of pounds in extra revenue, there are plenty of other universities around the world queueing to take them off our hands.

35 Responses to “Give the international student market the credit it deserves”

  1. Ipso Facto

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  2. Jon Hindmarsh

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  3. James Anslow

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  4. Youssef

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  5. Gavin Lingiah

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  6. Ranjit Sidhu

    My article is in The Left Foot Forward blog "Give the international student market the credit it deserves" //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  7. Melissa Nicole Harry

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  8. Duncan Stott

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  9. Gavin M

    I agree with @leftfoodfwd on something: //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  10. Michael Jeive

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  11. Ranjit Sidhu

    My piece in Left Foot Forward "Give the international student market the credit it deserves" //bit.ly/9PGdnm (with correct link!)

  12. steve

    Because too many of them are “studying” English at Fake college Inc. Real studies from overseas have no problem with leaving the country at the end of their course, they have worked their socks off for X years to get a good qualification and have no interest in earning minimum wage or less in the black economy.

    The vast majority of the 70000 are just bypassing immigration controls, trying to paint them as real students is just false.

  13. Alice Perry

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  14. John Lees

    Allowing more immigration is no answer to an ageing polulation – this is a myth perpetuated by the pro immigration lobby. Immigrants also age and live as long as natives, so if you allow in young immigrants, when they are old you need even more. It is an immigration pyramid scheme. Added to the fact that immigration does not benefit those already here and there is no argument to allow further immigration. Alow people to University and for short periods but not long term immigration.

  15. balmaha

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  16. Sarah Duff

    RT @leftfootfwd Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  17. StephenH

    For a science dept. like my own about 20 MSc students supply about 3% of income (each paying £15,000). For non-science departments such as law, economics, or architecture, however foreign students can be bringing in about 15-20% of their income. Many such departments would not be financially viable otherwise.

  18. Sara Beremenyi

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  19. cara shawn

    Give the international student market the credit it deserves …: The Economist has stated that in 2008 the intern… //bit.ly/9gO2YP

  20. Brad Hanshaw

    Give the international student market the credit it deserves …: The Economist has stated that in 2008 the intern… //bit.ly/9IPxG1

  21. scott joy

    Give the international student market the credit it deserves …: The Economist has stated that in 2008 the intern… //bit.ly/cJ6xLH

  22. Ranjit Sidhu

    Thanks for the comments:
    steve: – the economic value of the international student is clearly there in plain figures:.The international student market brings more rev than industries like advertising and does not recieve the credit it should get as an important industry to support of this country.

    Steve + John Lees: Thanks for your comments, they are both opinions which I do not agree with. I prefer to relate to the facts above of the income that international student bring to the economy

    StephenH: I agree- and this what many VCs know, therefore there is not a single Uni that isn’t pushing desperately for a slice of international student market with a shrinking UK student revenue model.

  23. John Lees

    Stephen – I doubt your genuine students are at risk, it is more the ones that seek to use bogus colleges to bypass controls. They make it more complicated for everyone else. Also if we allow students to stay on in the UK we are draining not helping their source contry.

  24. Mike C

    Well said. International students are a sign that we are exporting our eduction, and since Mr Cameron wants an export-led recovery I’m sure he’ll be very happy to see more arrive. Yes there are always some who abuse the system but then there is always some contraband in the export boxes at customs. We don’t shut down customs because of this. Many students who complete a degree are also legally allowed to find work for up to one year after their study in the UK is complete. The task for the government is to make sure we have a system which tracks students through their study and ensures they leave at the end if they are required to do so. I’m not sure why students are being targeted really. I would have though people coming in on tourist visa are much more likely to be a problem.

  25. Ranjit Sidhu

    Thank you for your comments:

    steve: The facts are that the international student market is larger than advertising and many other sectors in bringing in revenue into this country. I disagree with your opinion, but that is your opinion so i respect it. I would perhaps state it is this opinion that is stopping it getting the credit it deserves?

    John Lees: Again, on facts these students are bringing a large amount to our economy that can be factually stated, it is not by chance that Australia, Canada, Germany and France as well as a host of other countries are making the market far more competitive.

    StephenH: Agree- that is why every VC in the country is saying how his/her University is going for international students. With UK budgets being cut, this is the only growth market

  26. Peter Williams

    RT @sarah_duff: RT @leftfootfwd Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

  27. David Comp

    "Give the international student market the credit it deserves" at //bit.ly/b7unPC

  28. DegreesOverseas

    RT @DavidComp: "Give the international student market the credit it deserves" at //bit.ly/b7unPC

  29. GlobalPittsburgh

    RT @DavidComp: "Give the international student market the credit it deserves" at //bit.ly/b7unPC

  30. Mr. Sensible

    The government’s whole approach to migration is trying to pander to the Daily Mail.

  31. Dylan Barlow

    RT @leftfootfwd: Give the international student market the credit it deserves //bit.ly/9PGdnm

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