The United Kingdom is set to keep its position as the second country in the world with most international students, even after Brexit.
Previously in March, the UK Government’s Department for Education published a new International Education Strategy outlining plan that aims to boost the number of international students in the UK. It is estimated that if the law is introduced it will increase the number of internationals studying in the UK universities by over 30% during the next decade. Thus, the increase will also help boost the income generated by education exports to £35 billion.
According to a press release of the UK Department for Education, the UK currently hosts about 460,000 international higher education students. At the same time, the education sector generates approximately £20 billion per year through education exports and transnational activity.
“The strategy sets out an ambition to grow the total number of international students during the year to 600,000 and generate £35 billion through education exports by 2030 – a rise of 75%. The plans focus on not only retaining existing markets such as Europe, but raising the profile of the education sector in global markets such as Asia, Africa and Latin America,” the press release reads.
According to the UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds, the UK’s education system is world leading. He also estimates that as the UK prepares to leave the European Union, “it is more important than ever to reach out to UK’s global partners and maximize the potential of its best assets – that includes education offer and the international students this attracts.”
The strategy includes several measures, including the extension of the period of post-study leave for international student visas.
During a speech on April 30, the UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds said that it is vital for the UK’s number of international students is to set out a number of positive changes to the visa offer for international students.
“But sometimes we talk as though visas are the only issue to work on. In QS’ International Student Survey, 2018, student visas came 7th as a factor in terms of international students’ decision making. An institution’s reputation, how welcoming it is to students, and employment prospects, all scored more highly,” he pointed out during his speech.
According to statistics published by the UK Council for International Student Affairs, in the academic year 2016-2017 there were 138,000 non-UK EU students enrolled at the UK higher education institutions. Another 312,660 non-EU students were enrolled at universities and colleges in the UK.
Statistics show that the top sending countries for the same academic year were China, Malaysia, the United States of America, India and Hong Kong.