As the new academic year 2019-20 gets underway, UK universities welcomed the Government's announcement earlier this month that eligible international students will be entitled to work (or look for work) for two years after completing their undergraduate studies in the UK. The previous 'post-study' work visa was closed in 2012. The new scheme is intended to commence with the 2020-21 intake of students.
The UK Government's international education strategy seeks to grow the number of international students coming to the UK to 600,000 over the next 10 years. According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency for 2017-18, in that academic year there were approximately 140,000 students from EU countries and 320,000 for non-EU countries studying at UK universities.
Universities UK International is also promoting the value of study abroad for students at UK universities as part of its 'Go International: Stand Out' campaign:
"Data suggests that there are significant academic and employability benefits to students who study abroad: those who studied abroad were 20% less likely to be unemployed six months after graduating than those who did not. There were especially pronounced benefits for those from a disadvantaged background. For example, BME students who studied abroad were 17% more likely to be in a graduate job six months after graduating than their peers. The campaign aims to widen access to study abroad opportunities."
International student mobility will continue to be an important policy area with the UK's forthcoming departure from the European Union, scheduled for 31 October 2019. An earlier report prepared in 2018 by London Economics for the Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan International Pathways estimated that the economic benefit of welcoming 231,000 new international students each year to the UK was £22.6 billion, comprising tuition fees and other spending / economic activity. These economic benefits are distributed throughout the UK according to where studies are undertaken, albeit with the largest number of international students attending London higher education institutions.
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