A major new survey claims that international students are moving away from British universities, instead choosing to study in more ‘migrant friendly’ countries offering a better range of pathways after graduation.
The Hobson’s International Student Survey, which was published last Tuesday, found that 26.8% of prospective UK students from abroad chose to study in another country. An additional 5.4% chose to stay in their home country for university study.
The research found that international students still see UK universities as being of high quality and good value, but but were put off by ‘negative impressions’ and an ‘unhelpful policy context’. The report also found that the 45,000 international students questioned considered employability an important issue when choosing where to study, and that many viewed recently introduced visa restrictions for international students in a negative light and that many have chosen other countries in Europe with more options to find work after graudating as a result.
Germany was found to be one of the most popular destination among those who had decided not to study abroad in the UK. 11% of students questioned chose to study there and the total number of international students in the country is growing by 7% each year, compared to only 3% per year in the UK.
The survey concluded that UK universities are at risk of losing out on international students, as the ranking of universities and the perceived advantage of being taught in an English speaking country become less important factors when deciding where to study. It added that many EU countries were allowing graduates two year post-study work visas after the end of their studies, and that the fact the UK ended similar schemes in 2012 could be a reason for the decline in the number of international students choosing to study at British universities.
Honor Paddock, director of Hobson’s, said:
The fact that the UK is losing out to European competitors with more a relaxed approach to post-work study and a better reputation for welcoming international students should be a real concern to policy-makers.
We need to fix this now so that future students aren’t put off and our HE sector doesn’t suffer
Students from abroad are estimated to bring around £7 billion into the UK economy, with some education experts claiming that certain degree courses are only being run due to the number of international students interested in studying them.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, recently announced additional restrictions on international student visas which will require students to be in possession of an even larger amount of financial savings when arriving in the UK. Further education visas for students studying at colleges will also be cut from three years down to two, with overseas students being prevented from continuing their studies unless they have registered at an establishment that is ‘formally linked’ to a university.