In response to news that the number of overseas students starting courses in England has fallen for the first time in almost 30 years, Mark Hilton, head of immigration policy at London First, said the numbers “hammered home the dreadful impact of having students in the Government’s net migration target.
“With UK growth still stumbling along, do we really want to hamstring our eight largest export industry?
“The shocking thing is the prize is there for us to take but we are squandering it – rapid growth in the number of students studying abroad presents a real opportunity for the UK.
“In 2010, there were 4.1 million tertiary-level students across the world studying outside their country of citizenship. By 2020, estimates suggest the number will reach seven million.
“But the signs are foreign students are increasingly turning to competitor countries like the US and Australia instead because of the barriers we are putting in the way and the message we are sending out that the UK has taken in the welcome mat.”