Universities UK has warned ministers that any U-turn on their commitments to grow international student numbers could result in a "hammer blow" to the British economy, with billions of pounds in lost revenue, wrecking growth plans and damaging local economies.
The warning follows comments from the Home Secretary suggesting there are too many international students and dependents in the UK.
According to research from the Higher Education Policy Institute, in conjunction with Universities UK, international students make a net positive contribution of more than £25.9 billion to the UK’s economy, with every part of the UK financially better off – on average by £390 per person – because of international students.
Universities UK and Universities UK International are calling for the Home Secretary to retract her comments on international students, and to reaffirm the centrality of international students and their dependents to their own plans for the economic future of the UK.
Vivienne Stern, CEO of Universities UK, said:
"The fact that so many international students chose to study in the UK is a real success story, and the UK benefits in many ways from hosting them. International students contribute to the UK’s global connections in trade, politics and in research, and they make an enormous economic contribution too."