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Universities UK responds to new International Education Strategy to grow international student numbers

Universities UK (UUK) welcomes the plans announced by the Department for Education and the Department for Trade for a new International Education Strategy, including its targets to grow international student numbers.

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said:

"Over the last six months we have been in regular dialogue with the Department for International Trade and the Department for Education regarding this strategy, facilitating 'soft' consultation with the sector, and we are pleased to note the cross-government approach announced today (16 March 2019).

"The UK is at the forefront of global education with a strong and well-deserved reputation for the quality of the education we offer, with international students studying across the UK and our main 'competitor' countries ranking us first for satisfaction (research by iGraduate).

"I strongly welcome the publication of this strategy as a signal of a change in direction. I particularly welcome the ambitious target to grow the number of international students to 600,000 by 2030 which sends a strong message of welcome.

"International students contribute a huge amount to the UK, not only economically but also by enriching the international education environment in our universities for all students. Whilst their presence in the UK is worth an estimated £26 billion in direct and knock on effects, sustaining over 200,000 jobs in all parts of the UK, they bring much wider benefit to our academic and civic communities.

"We particularly welcome steps to improve the visa regime, including the extension of opportunities for our graduates to work in the UK once they graduate, to six months for undergraduates and masters' students, and a year for those who undertake PhDs. We would like the government to go further and extend this opportunity to at least two years and we will continue to urge them on this point."

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