International Students Are Worth £25.8 Billion To The UK Economy | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

International Students Are Worth £25.8 Billion To The UK Economy

Recent figures, provided by Universities UK (UUK) - the representative organisation for UK universities - have revealed that international students inject over £25 billion into the UK economy, generating a boost for local businesses and providing more than 200,000 jobs

UUK conducted a study that focused on how much income international students bring into the economy. This study was based on students’ university payments, off-campus spending and the amount overseas visitors spend during their visit to the UK, for example, on hotels, restaurants, and travel.

It was estimated that in 2014/15, Britain, after the USA, was the second most popular destination for international students to study, with 437,000 students travelling to Britain for university education. The analysis found that in 2014/15, an exact figure of £25.8 billion was generated from international students’ spending, providing a total of 206,000 jobs. £1 billion was generated in tax revenues, which is the equivalent of the salaries of 31,700 nurse salaries and 25,000 police officers.

Figures also reveal the significant increase in the number of Indian students who study in the UK. In 2010/11, the figure reached 39,090. Yet by 2015/16, this had increased to 16,745.

Outside of tuition fee payments, further figures revealed that international students spent £5.4 billion in 2014/15 on goods and services off-campus. Transport and retail sectors also received huge benefits from the spending of international students during this period, adding £1.2 billion to the UK transport industry and £750 to the retail industry. In the Yorkshire region alone, international students generated £429 million in off-campus spending.

The UK receives further monetary benefits from international students’ friends and visiting family members. Hotels, restaurants, sightseeing attractions, the retail industry, and the transport industry all benefit from their expenditure, giving a further boost to the economy.

‘these figures highlight the enormous economic contribution international students now make to UK'

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her government were planning to reduce the number of overseas students entering the country. Amber Rudd, the current Home Secretary, wishes to reduce the UK net migration figure by limiting the number of student visas dispensed. Although international students were previously estimated to be worth around £11 billion, the new figure of £25 billion has put pressure to stop, or delay, the government’s plans.

UUK are putting pressure on the government to stop labelling international students as ‘migrants’, since the majority of them return home on completing their degree. However, these demands so far have been rejected.

Figures published last month revealed that the Brexit vote may have started to hit universities, as there was a 7% drop in applications from EU students.

President of UUK, Dame Julia Goodfellow, said, ‘these figures highlight the enormous economic contribution international students now make to UK plc and to jobs and communities in every region of the UK’. To build on the success of UK higher education, we must ‘present a welcoming climate for genuine international students and ensure that visa and immigration rules are proportionate and communicated appropriately. This will be even more important as the UK looks to enhance its place in the world post-Brexit’.



16th March 2017 at 10:00 am

Last Updated

16th March 2017 at 7:14 am

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Nicolas Raymond