The real value of an international student to the UK economy

What value can an international student bring to the UK economy? 

Despite their huge contribution to the economy, international students in the United Kingdom have been the subject of plenty of negative press lately. Not too long after home secretary Suella Braverman’s comments about international students “bringing in family members who can piggyback on to their student visa,” Prime Minster Rishi Sunak’s official spokesperson has just revealed potential plans to crack down on international students taking “low-quality” degrees. 

These developments are coming about as the Conservative government attempts to reduce net migration to the UK, which just climbed to a record 504,000. This is reportedly an increase of 331,000 in a single year, and at least 400,000 more than the home secretary is aiming for. 

The home secretary previously suggested that the scale of foreign students coming to the UK to study is too high, and that they and their dependent family members who accompany them to the UK are “not necessarily working” or are “working in low-skilled jobs,” and are “not contributing to growing the UK’s economy.” Aligned with this, Sunak’s official said he was fully committed to bringing overall immigration levels down and blamed “unprecedented and unique circumstances” for the record high.


Consequences of barring international students from the UK

In light of the news about Sunak’s plans, Professor Brian Bell, chair of the government’s Migration Advisory Committee, warns that many universities could go bankrupt if international students are barred from the UK, particularly those located in poorer regions. He also pointed out that it was not just an immigration policy but also an education policy, as it could lead to a huge increase in British students’ fees to make up for the loss of foreign students’ payments. 

Limiting the number of international students could also strike a major blow to the UK’s economy, given that they make an enormous economic contribution of nearly £26 billion. Joint research from the Higher Education Policy Institute and Universities UK reveals that every part of the UK is financially better off by an average of £390 per person because of international students’ contribution through fees and spending. Besides their positive economic contribution, international students also contribute to the UK’s global connections in trade and politics. 


Good news: Applications for UK study visas and extensions are still growing 

Amid all the talk of curbing the number of foreign students in the UK, applications for UK study visas and extensions in Q3 2022 have risen by some 30% according to UK government statistics. This is a testament to the strength of the UK’s higher education sector, which has long been recognised for its excellence worldwide. 

As the popularity of the UK among international students continues to rise, GSP’s network of UK universities and institutions is growing right along with it. GSP currently works with over 100 universities and institutions in the UK, catering to the unique needs of students from all across the globe. With our unique, cloud-based technology, we’ve recast the traditional international student recruitment model into one that’s simpler, faster, more collaborative, and more transparent. If you’re interested in scaling your student recruitment, come speak to us about your needs and how we can work together.


Global Study Partners’ online platform

Our cloud-based platform serves recruiters, institutions and students alike to achieve our main goal: to provide international students with education choices that will change their lives and impact the world around them.

  • Recruiters: We take the load off your shoulders by handling the most crucial part of the paperwork and verification process so that you have more time to focus on counselling your students. 
  • Institutions: We showcase your courses and brand to over 3,000 recruitment partners worldwide, and we facilitate in-person and online engagement opportunities to allow our recruitment partners to get to know you more and encourage collaboration which generally contributes to better conversion.

There are many features for you to explore within the GSP platform to help your international recruitment efforts – enabling you to provide your students with a simpler and more straightforward application process. To learn more about US recruitment and study applications, contact our recruitment and business development experts.

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