I was pleased to speak at the launch of a new report showing that international students contribute more than £20 billion to the UK economy – and that Sheffield Central benefits more than any other constituency in the country. It’s more evidence that the Government should change tack and do more to welcome international students to the UK.
The new report commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan International Pathways shows that 2,456 international students who started their studies in Sheffield Central in 2015/16 will contribute £226 million each year to the economy during their studies - equivalent to £1,961 per constituent per annum.
Across the city as a whole there are 3,915 international students who started their studies in 2015/16 and who will contribute £360.4 million during the course of their studies.
The economic benefits from international students to the country are staggering. A total net economic contribution of international students of £20.3 billion – an average of £31.3 million per parliamentary constituency or £310 for each member of the UK resident population per annum. The net benefits of international students in Yorkshire and the Humber are estimated to be £1.6 billion.
In my speech at the launch of the report I welcomed the findings and urged the Government to develop policies that encourage international students to the UK, as currently the UK is losing ground to Australia, Canada and the US.
The decision of the Home Secretary to commission the Migration Advisory Committee to assess the impact of international students in the UK, to which this report adds powerful evidence, provides a great opportunity for the Government to think again about their approach.
The huge benefits from international students go beyond economics. International students add to the cultural vitality of our campuses and communities, enhance the learning environment for UK students, ensure the viability of many courses, contribute to research and innovation, and strengthen the UK’s relations with countries around the world.
As Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Students I will continue to work with parliamentarians of all parties to push for a strategy to build on our success by recruiting more international students and making the policy changes necessary to achieve it.