Report reveals strong public support for international students

27 August 2014

A new report by British Future and Universities UK reveals strong public support for international students and public recognition of the important positive contribution international students make to Britain.

UKCISA Chief Executive Dominic Scott welcomed the report: ‘Amongst what often seems like a smog of largely unhelpful rhetoric, it is refreshing to see the facts about international students recorded so clearly.  This important survey demonstrates quite clearly, and contrary to what is often reported in some parts of the media, that the majority of the UK public do not see students as ‘migrants’ at all, recognise the benefits they contribute to the UK, and now look to the government to invest additional resources into ensuring even larger numbers come to the UK in the future.’

Here are the key findings of the International students and the UK immigration debate report:

  • 59% of the public says the government should not reduce international student numbers, even if that limits the government’s ability to cut immigration numbers overall. Only 22% take the opposing view.
  • 66% of Conservative voters are opposed to reducing student numbers.
  • 60% of people think that international students bring money into their local economy. Only 12% think they take money out. 
  • 61% agree that Britain’s universities would have less funding to invest in top-quality facilities and teaching without the higher fees paid by international students. Only 7% disagree.
  • 75% think that international students should be allowed to stay and work in Britain after graduating from British universities, using their skills for the benefit of our economy, for at least a period of time.
  • Only 22% of the public thinks that international students should count as migrants. Most people do not understand why they would be counted towards the government’s immigration targets.

You can download the full report.

Read more on the impact of international students.

And we debunk some common myths and misconceptions about international students.