Non-EU students contribute UKú2.3bn to London

28 May, 2015

London’s non-EU higher education population brings a net benefit of UK£2.3 billion per annum to the local economy and supports 70,000 jobs, according to a report compiled by London First and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Short-term, economic benefits and costs of international students in London, 2013/14
Source - London First/PWC, London Calling: International students' contribution to Britain's economic growth

In light of the findings, the authors of the report call on government to remove international students from net migration figures and reinstate post-study work options.

The report, titled London Calling: International students’ contribution to Britain’s economic growth, indicates that the economic benefit of £UK2.8 billion of hosting these students heavily outweighs the amount spent on their public services consumption of UK£540 million including the National Health Service (NHS).

In a joint statement, Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First; and Julia Onslow-Cole, Partner at PwC Legal LLP, said, “This report, for the first time, quantifies the positive effect of international students in London on our country, and makes suggestions to future governments about how to maximise their beneficial impact.”

In terms of economic benefit, the UK£2.8 billion figure comprises fees paid to universities (UK£1.31bn), subsistence spending (UK£1.36bn) and expenditure of friends and relatives that come to visit international students (UK£121m). The figures include direct, indirect and induced value-added calculations based on the Input-Output (IO) table produced by the UK’s Office for National Statistics.

In addition, the report highlights that non-EU student numbers have remained stable at London universities while domestic numbers have fallen since 2009/10 – proving that international students are a valuable source of income for universities.

The report showed that in 2013/14, there were 67,405 non-EU students at London’s universities. There were also an additional 33,295 students from other EU countries, although these students were not used in the reports calculations.

However, the report also showed that international students have problems with the immigration system. From a sample of 1,532 surveyed students, 54 per cent reported that the rules are complex, 52 per cent had problems with fees and there were also issues with documentation requirements (48 per cent), work restrictions (39 per cent) and processing times (36 per cent), among other things. Additionally, while 25 per cent of current students intended to remain in the UK after finishing their studies, only 12 per cent of alumni said that they ended up doing so.

“Permission to work in the UK post-graduation will attract international students who want to gain work experience and widen their network in the UK and then return to their home country,” reads the report. “On the other hand, complex or expensive visa procedures, as well as an inability to remain in the UK to gain work experience post-graduation, may deter international students from choosing the UK.”

The organisations used data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency on the 2013/14 academic year and a survey of international students from a range of institutions in London to reach these conclusions. For further information, click here.

At the time of writing, UK£1 = US$1.53

Print This Page Close Window Archive