International Students boosted the UK economy by £42 billion last year
Elizabeth Barber reports on the impact of international students on the present-day UK economy
International students boosted the UK economy by £42 billion last year, according to a new report by Universities UK, a rise from the pre-pandemic figure of £31.3 billion. In Exeter alone, the net economic impact of international students was £140.7 million in 2021/22.
The report concludes that, even after accounting for other costs and dependents, international students are unquestionably a significant net contributor to the UK economy, estimating that each parliamentary constituency is £58 million better off because of international students – equivalent to approximately £560 per citizen.
Even after accounting for other costs and dependents, international students are unquestionably a significant net contributor to the UK economy
They also highlight that aside from the clear economic benefits, international students bring social and cultural benefits to the UK, and argue that higher education is one of the UK’s most significant and successful exports.
However, this report follows the UK government’s confirmation that many more international students will no longer have the right to bring family members to the UK, in an attempt to reduce immigration numbers.
There has been a rise in the number of visas granted to dependents of international students, with 135,788 visas issued in 2022, up from 16,000 in 2019. Since those who come to the UK under 12 months are not counted in official migration figures, the impact of these new measures on net immigration is unclear. The Labour Party has confirmed that they will not oppose these new rules.
As the economic outlook of the UK remains uncertain, the UK government is continuing with their focus to limit net immigration.