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Response to home secretary's comments on student visas

4 October 2016

Universities UK responded today to home secretary Amber Rudd’s speech at the Conservative Party conference in which she said the government will consult on changes to the student immigration system. 

Responding to the speech, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “The UK has a world-class reputation for the quality of its universities. We have one of the strongest systems for quality assurance in the world.  

“The diversity of institutions and the range of high quality courses offered is one of the many strengths of our university sector. Any criteria must reflect that diversity. The criteria must also support the critical role that many universities play in their regions, where the impact of international students directly supports regional economies, supplies high level graduate skills, and ensures the sustainability of many courses at regional level. 

“Polling has shown that the British public does not see international students as long-term migrants, but as valuable, temporary visitors. International students come to the UK, study for a period, and then the overwhelming majority go home after their studies.  

“International students also enrich our campuses and the experience of UK students, both academically and culturally. Many return home having forged strong professional and personal links in this country that provide long-term, ‘soft power’ benefits for the UK. 

“International (non-EU) students already make a £7 billion contribution to the UK economy, generating almost 137,000 jobs in communities in every region of the UK. International staff also make a vital contribution to our universities and country. The UK has one the strongest university systems in the world and is in a prime position to build on this and boost the country’s export earnings.”

Key Contacts

Jo Hindle

Jo Hindle

Head of Media
Universities UK

Luke Lambert

Luke Lambert

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

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