The first major report into the boost overseas students give the economy found non-UK graduates do not take jobs from local residents, because they largely obtain work in highly qualified areas such as economics or science, or in sectors that suffer acute shortages, such as teaching and nursing. The Guardian reports.
The study by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and the consultancy London Economics found that in the decade after graduation, the EU and overseas students who remain will pay an estimated £3.2bn in income tax, VAT, national insurance and other revenues to the exchequer.
“Universities firmly believe the government’s biggest mistake in higher education has been to discourage international students from coming here. A hostile environment has been in place for nearly a decade,” said Nick Hillman, the director of Hepi.
“It is a testament to the strengths of our higher education sector that the number of international students has not fallen but it is an absolute tragedy that we have been unable to keep up with the pace of growth in other countries.”
The study comes only a few days after the government announced it would lift some of the restrictions on international graduates, lengthening the period they can remain looking for work from four to six months after the end of their course, and up to one year for those earning doctorates.
Universities and employers’ groups urged the government to consider lifting the restrictions.
Hollie Chandler, a senior policy analyst at the Russell Group of research universities, said: “The UK needs to improve its visa policy and ensure a welcoming environment. A two-year post-study work offer would enhance the UK’s appeal as a top study destination and help the UK retain talented graduates who benefit our society and economy.”
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