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Overseas Students

Question for Department for Education

UIN 211071, tabled on 22 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of international students choosing to study in the UK.

Answered on

28 January 2019

The government fully recognises the important economic and cultural contribution that EU and international students make to the UK’s higher education sector. We want that contribution to continue and we are confident – given the world-class quality of our higher education sector – that it will. We welcome international students and there continues to be no limit on the number who can come here to study, nor any plans to limit any institution’s ability to recruit them.

The UK remains a highly attractive destination for non-EU students, with their numbers remaining at record highs – over 170,000 non-EU entrants to UK higher education institutions for the seventh year running. The UK is a world-leading destination for study, with 4 universities in the world’s top 10 and 16 in the top 100 – second only to the USA. We actively promote study in the UK through the GREAT Campaign and to over 100 countries through the British Council.

That is why the government announced on 21 January that an international education strategy will be produced by the Department for Education and the Department for International Trade in 2019. The strategy will set out the government’s ambition for international education, in which international students play a key role, and plans to support the sector in driving growth in education exports.

In the Immigration White Paper, published on 19 December 2018, the UK government proposed to increase the post-study leave period for international students following completion of studies to 12 months for those completing a PhD, and to 6 months for all full-time postgraduate students and undergraduate students at institutions with degree awarding powers. Going beyond the recommendations set out by the Migration Advisory Committee, these proposals will benefit tens of thousands of international students.

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