UKCISA calls for a sustainable international student policy

10 April 2024


UKCISA has launched a new policy position paper entitled Equity, Inclusion and Innovation: a sustainable international student policy’. The paper identifies five areas for improvement and outlines recommendations for governments to shape immigration and other policy matters related to the international student experience in the UK. 

The recommendations in this paper aim to ensure that the UK’s global image remains positive and welcoming for prospective and current students and supports the continued success of the whole education sector. Further, it supports the work of UKCISA and its members through the #WeAreInternational campaign to counter recent negative perceptions of the UK as a study destination for international students.  

The recommendations are: 

  1. Promote the UK as a welcoming and inclusive country to study in, using positive language in cross-government policy and campaigns that acknowledges the strength and contributions of international students and their dependants to their communities.  
  2. Implement central data collection mechanisms to build a comprehensive evidence base on migration data for international students and their dependants.
  3. Develop fair and equitable immigration policies for international students across the UK education sector.
  4. Transform digital tools for immigration to enhance the customer experience for international students and education sponsors.
  5. Support careers and employability opportunities, recognising their intrinsic value to the UK’s global education offer for international students and graduates. 

Download the paper 

Women talking passionately. Text 'Download report here'


Commenting on the paper, Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive of UKCISA said: 

“The UK education sector is committed to ensuring a high-quality experience for its international students. Now is the time for UK policymakers to commit to a suite of evidence-informed policies that promote international study mobility and celebrate the UK education sector’s position as a leader in international education.” 


To support advocacy efforts for these policy recommendations, we encourage members to use our recently launched toolkit for regional political engagement, produced in collaboration with BUILA and Independent Higher Education (IHE), which provides guidance on engaging with local MPs and electoral candidates on matters of international higher education ahead of the upcoming UK general election.  

Learn more about our new toolkit 

Together these documents provide guidance for members on the current and potential policy environments and those seeking to be better informed and empowered while ensuring the sector speaks with one voice in their advocacy efforts in their ongoing work to support international students. 

To ensure that local work feeds into the wider national activities of UKCISA, BUILA and IHE, we would be grateful if you could please let us know of any MP engagement by emailing   

For questions about the policy recommendations, please get in touch with