Russell Group response to potential reduction in international student numbers

25 November 2022

In response to reports that the Government is considering reducing international student numbers, Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said:

"Last week, the Chancellor set out a pro-innovation agenda for growth which will require a highly skilled workforce, but this week's policy rumours on restricting international students show how quickly things can unravel. The fact that our universities attract students from around the world is an asset for the UK. Proposals that limit or restrict that asset would be a mistake, damaging local economies and contradicting the Government’s own International Education Strategy. It also sends the wrong signal about the UK on the global stage. Worse, it is free marketing for our competitors in Australia, Canada and the US.

"International students help make our campuses a vibrant and diverse environment for young people to learn in and generate funds that are re-invested into our universities and benefit local communities.

"Any system is open to abuse but Russell Group universities collectively spend over £25m a year on due diligence and work closely with Government to ensure visa rules are being complied with. The latest Home Office data show how international students are one of the most visa-compliant of all groups."

Further info

Figures show those with study visas are at least 97.5% compliant in leaving when their visas expire, higher than the 94.9% compliance rate on work visas and 64.6% on 'other' visas.

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