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Let them in

25 September 2018

Universities UK believe that in order to avoid missing out on international talent, overseas students to the UK should be given a two-year work visa after graduation.

As well as boosting international influence and cultural diversity, overseas students are worth £26bn to the UK in fees, travel and living costs, including £1bn in tax revenues. There are currently time limits for moving into work, thresholds on how much graduates must be earning, and sponsorship is required.

Professor Sir Steve Smith of Universities UK said that claims of overseas students overstaying and using their visas as a route to migration are “factually incorrect.” In fact, 98% of overseas students comply with their visa requirements, according to recent data.

Sir Steve also warned that after Brexit there will be even greater demand for skilled workers, and the UK should be more welcoming to these workers, who might otherwise go to places like the US, Canada and Australia.

The number of international students coming to the UK has only increased by 3% in the past decade, in comparison to an increase by 40% in the US, 45% in Australia and 57% in Canada.

Currently, China is the largest provider of international students in the UK, with approximately 95,000 students. There are also about 17,000 students from India, however Universities UK says that this number has halved over the past 5 years.

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