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  • Shadow Indian Students Propel UK Economy Amid Immigration Concerns, Research Reveals Global Economic Contributors

    Published on May 22, 2023

    According to a recent study that provides new insights into the economic value overseas students bring to the UK, Indian students emerge as one of the top donors to the British economy. The analysis demonstrates how, despite concerns about immigration, these students have a significant monetary influence on UK universities.

    The report anticipates a £96,000 economic impact per non-European Union student, including students from India, one of the largest international contingents, based on 2020-21 data.

    Experts state that, compared to what they consume, international students contribute nearly tenfold to the economy, amplifying both local and national financial health, and that their presence enables universities to provide world-class teaching and research.

    Raising the Standard in Higher Education

    The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), Universities UK International (UUKi), and Kaplan International Pathways commissioned the study in response to current political concerns about potential visa restrictions for international students and their dependents.

    According to data, the total economic gains from international students increased by 34% between the academic years 2018-19 and 2021-22, rising from £31.3 billion to £41.9 billion. Furthermore, each group of 11 non-EU students contributes an incredible £1 million to the UK economy. “The financial benefits of hosting international students far outweigh the costs, generating a net benefit to the UK economy of £37.4 billion,” the report states.

    Indian Students: A Market One Cannot Ignore

    According to the data, Indian students are the second largest international student cohort at UK universities. According to the data, 87,045 Indian students enrolled in the first year, outnumbering Nigeria and behind only China.

    However, according to the latest census statistics, the number of Indian students has already surpassed the Chinese in terms of study visas, owing primarily to the Graduate Route visa, which was established in July 2021.

    Insights into the Industry

    Raghwa Gopal, CEO of education management company M Square Media (MSM), lauds Indian students’ good influence. “This report substantiates what we’ve known for years: Indian international students are not only pursuing a world-class education in the UK, but they are also significantly contributing to its economic prosperity,” he said.

    The newly appointed MSM chief, a seasoned tech entrepreneur in British Columbia, Canada, also raised the alarm about possible changes to visa laws. “While it is encouraging to see the Graduate Route visa increasing Indian enrollment, any visa restrictions may deter prospective students and diminish this positive trend,” he said.

    Gopal emphasized the importance of openness when discussing the broader benefits of foreign education, with the benefits of international students going beyond monetary gain, enriching the cultural landscape and facilitating global idea exchange. It is critical that the UK remain friendly to international students, he adds.

    This report’s data is also seen to underscore the importance of evidence-based decision-making, taking into account the significant positive impacts these students have on the UK’s economy, society, and academic scene.


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