Think tank warns about economic effects of reducing student visas

06 Jan 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Think tank, the Centre for Cities, is warning that Government plans to drastically reduce the number of UK visas issued to overseas students will have major repercussions on cities across the country.

 
It says that city economies will be hard hit if there is a major drop in the number of international students allowed to study in the UK.
 
London is the most popular city for overseas students, attracting around 25 per cent of those choosing to study in the UK. However, there are also sizable international student populations in other university cities. For example, almost a third of all students studying in Coventry came from outside the UK.
 
Centre for Cities used figures from Universities UK, which said that foreign students brought around £10.7 billion into the British economy in 2011/12, to break down their worth to individual cities.
 
In Coventry, it’s estimated international students brought an additional £380 million into the city’s economy. For Exeter, the figure was £123 million, and Sunderland benefited to the tune of £83 million thanks to fees and spending by overseas students.
 
Chinese students make up the largest number of international students in the UK, accounting for 20 per cent of the total, followed by Indians, who made up four per cent. Overall, around a fifth of all students studying in at UK higher education institutions – or an estimated 440,000 – came from outside Britain in 2014-15.
 
Paul Swinney, senior economist at the Centre for Cities, wrote: “The current political climate means that talking about visa restrictions is popular with the electorate.
“But such decisions will have an economic impact too, and may well hurt the very places the Government is attempting to help through its place-based industrial strategy. And this, surely, would be counterproductive.”