UKIBC gives evidence to new Parliamentary International Student Report

By Oliver Rice

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Students’ has released their Inquiry Report calling for the ‘reset button’ to be pressed to win back International Students to the UK.

The Report:

The APPG Report highlights that 60% in global growth of outboard Students will be from India and China by 2027. This poses an opportunity for a Global Britain post-Brexit to increase its international student market share and reverse the decline in the student enrolments experienced since 2011.

While Students study in the UK, they increase knowledge and preference for UK brands leading to greater consumption of UK products positively impacting both UK soft power and future trade relationships.

The APPG therefore recommends that International Students be removed from Government net immigration targets and instead a clear and ambitious target should be set to grow international student numbers.

What we said:

UK India Business Council Chief Operating Officer, Kevin McCole, gave evidence to the inquiry on 11th September outlining the case for a visa student policy aligned with our industrial strategy:

“We’re a global Britain and our Industrial Strategy sets out Grand Challenges. We should therefore be looking to address those challenges with partners from around the world. So aligning the visa student policy with an industrial strategy would seem to me to make great sense.”

The UKIBC supports the recommendations of the APPG report, and in our submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s (FAC) Global Britain and India Inquiry last month, we likewise called for a review of all the allocation of Tier 2 and Tier 4 visa policies for Indian Students which does not currently reflect the best of Britain.

With world-class provision of Higher Education, the UK could be a valuable partner for the success of India’s long-term interests. Not only should this be explicitly shaped by the UK industrial and export strategy, as Kevin outlined to the APPG Inquiry, but we should be recognising India’s needs in this.

The APPG Report also recommended that the UK should have a strategy to support international students seeking employment opportunities in their home country. This can boost UK soft power, research and trade, ensuring greater engagement with alumni by universities, business and government.

This is supports comments made by our businesses and universities during the recent ‘Future of Work’ roundtable between leading UK Higher Education Institutions and Indian business leaders in Mumbai for HE institutions to do more to support their graduates seeking employment in their home country.

There is much that be done to ensure Higher Education institutions are aware of Indian business skill requirements and likewise ensuring Indian businesses are aware of the quality of courses UK institutions offer and the UKIBC will continue working with our members to further this.

To read the APPG’s full report ‘A Sustainable Future for International Students in the UK’ click here.


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