7 Things You Should Know About International Students In The UK

Feeling confused about the current debate on foreign students? Here's what you need to know

Since Home Secretary Amber Rudd outlined plans to reduce immigration by making it tougher for foreign students to get a place at UK universities, people have been divided over whether that’s the best course of action.

Currently, around 167,000 students from outside of the EU come to the UK to study each year.

Some people feel as if overseas students are a drain on the UK’s resources, whereas others think they are important resource that should be encouraged.

If you’re struggling to know where you fall in the debate, here are seven things you should know about international students.

International students generate £11 billion of income for the UK
International students generate £11 billion of income for the UK
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1) Only 1% of international students refuse to leave the UK

Until recently, it was believed that high numbers of international students broke the terms of their visa and stayed in the UK after graduation.

Campaign group Migration Watch reported that 110,000 students remained in the country each year either by overstaying, getting married, finding a job or starting a new degree.

But a Home Office study has shown that only 1% of international students refuse to leave - around 1,500 people a year.

When asked by The Times why the research had not been shared with other government departments, the Home Office said it was “not completed”.

2) International students help generate almost £11 billion for the UK economy

According to Universities UK, the UK makes £11 billion from international students each year, with those studying in London alone generating £2,500 million.

It has been estimated that some postgraduate courses would not be able to run without the financial support of overseas students.

3) The UK is the second most popular place for international students in the world

12.8% of the world’s internationally mobile students come to the UK for their degree, making Britain the second most popular destination in the world, UK Universities has found.

America is the only place with more overseas students, with 16.4% opting to study there.

The UK is the second most popular place in the world for international students
The UK is the second most popular place in the world for international students
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4) Many world leaders studied in the UK as foreign students

UK universities have also helped educate many international world leaders, including Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball, who studied at Oxford.

The prime ministers of Colombia, Hungary and the Bahamas also chose top British universities.

But it is not just elected officials who studied here - Britain is popular with royalty too. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark graced the halls of Cambridge and the LSE, while King Tupou VI of Tonga opted for the University of East Anglia.

5) Each international student costs the NHS £736

A report commissioned by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2013 found that students from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) cost the NHS around £430 million a year - £736 per student.

The EEA covers the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

6) Students must leave four months after their course finishes

Once an international student has finished their degree, they must leave the UK within four months of their course finishing. If their course is less than a year long, they will have to leave earlier.

However, they can apply for a new visa to work in the country or be sponsored by an employer to switch their student visa to a work visa.

7) Postgraduate students are allowed to bring their families

Postgraduate students are able to bring their families with them when they come to study in the UK as their dependents. This can includes partners and children under the age of 18.


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