As Brexit creeps closer, an investigation has been launched into the future of international students in the UK by a parliamentary committee.
The inquiry, led by the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Students (APPGIS) will ask for written and oral evidence from experts in education, business, trade and local communities on the value international students bring to the UK, and their place in the country moving forward.
“We must understand the impact that Brexit will have on international students and the consequent effects on communities in every region of the UK,” Lord Paul Bilimoria, who is leading the inquiry, told The PIE News.
Really hope @sajidjavid @SamGyimah will take seriously the input of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Students – from schools to universities to industrial strategy, we risk so much that is good if we do not improve access for International Students.
— Ruth Arnold (@RuthArnold) July 3, 2018
It is still unclear what Brexit will mean for international students in the UK, both in terms of tuition fees and visa allocations.
With October 19 marking the date the UK Prime Minister will meet in Brussels to finalise the terms of Brexit, decisions must be made soon.
The report from the inquiry is unlikely to be released before this date, but APPGIS hopes the findings will soften the effect of student mobility after Brexit takes hold in May 2019.
The UK is currently ranked second in the world for its international higher education system, but Brexit is presently threatening to take this crown away.
Recent data shows that 39 percent of EU students and 10 percent of non-EU students are discouraged from studying in the UK due to higher fees and an unwelcoming atmosphere post-Brexit.
Coupled with China’s plans to overtake the UK as a study abroad destination by 2020, and Canada edging closer to the second spot, it’s possible the UK could slip from its position after its divorce from the EU.
International students currently contribute over £22.6 billion (US$29.9 billion) to the UK for the duration of their studies, with GB£5.1 billion (US$6.7 billion) generated by EU students according to a London Economics report.
The inquiry hopes to build upon the Migration Advisory Committee’s investigation into the impact of Brexit on the UK labour market, to mitigate the effects of Brexit on the international student community and national economy.
“This new inquiry will get to the heart of concerns from students, institutions and communities, in developing recommendations on how we can ensure a sustainable future in which we can build on our strong position in welcoming international students to the UK,”said Lord Bilimoria.
“It is more important than ever that the UK has a co-ordinated approach to welcoming and supporting our international students and graduates, given the increasing competition for these students and their enormous importance to the UK,” Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International told The Pie News.
“This is also an opportune time to reassess the UK’s immigration system to attract international students to the UK to remain globally competitive post-Brexit. For these reasons we very much welcome this inquiry,” she said.