chinese international students
Chinese international student numbers in the UK have reached an all-time high. Source: Shutterstock

The latest Higher Education Student Statistics: UK, 2018/19 bulletin has shown that the number of Chinese nationals  studying in the UK has increased again.

The number of Chinese international students in the country rose above 120,000 for the first time – meaning that one in every three non-EU students is from China.

According to the bulletin, “China sent more students to the UK than any other overseas country. In 2018/19, 35 percent of all non-EU students were from China. The number of students from China was also 34 percent higher in 2018/19 than in 2014/15, increasing from 89,540 to 120,385 in the five-year span.”

The Guardian recently reported that international students in the UK are making significant contributions to the expansion of England’s most premier universities.

The London School of Economics (LSE) now has more full-time international and EU undergraduate students than local students – 2,380 from the UK  (including just 15 from Scotland) and 2,630 from outside the UK.

At University College London (UCL) and Imperial College, local students only make up slightly more than half of all students enrolled.

Why are more Chinese international students choosing the UK?

Last year, US universities saw a sharp decline in enrolment from Chinese international students due to the trade war and growing political tensions between the two countries which led to tougher immigration policies.

A report by the Association of International Educators, Losing Talent: An Economic and Foreign Policy Risk America Can’t Ignore stated, “Data show that international students and scholars feel less safe and less welcome in the US than the previous year surveyed.”

“University and industry leaders acknowledge that anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies contribute to a chilling effect on international study in the US.”

Chinese international students also faced visa delays over concerns under the Trump administration that Chinese international students are stealing US intellectual property.

Those studying in fields such as robotics and aviation were closely scrutinised, which led to China issuing a warning to students about difficulties and delays in obtaining  anUS studentd work visas.

It was reported that some students waited up to six months for their visas to be approved.

This had led many students from China to choose other popular study abroad destinations that offer easier career and immigration pathways such as UK, Canada, and Australia.

The UK also brought back the two-year post-study work visas for international students, which could be another factor as to why more Chinese international students applied to UK universities.

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