De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has welcomed a new report which shows the number of international students overstaying their visa is far below previous estimates.
The study, from the Office for National Statistics, uses a new analysis of border checks on departing students to find that, of those whose long-term study visa expired in 2016-17, 95 per cent either left the UK or remained legally by gaining a visa extension for further study or work.
The figures suggest only around 4,600 international students stayed longer than their visa permitted, far below original estimates of around 90,000.
The news comes at the same time Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the first Home Office investigation into the economic impact of international students in the UK.
Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, said in response to the news: “It's intensely frustrating to learn that the hostile rhetoric over the past few months about international students was based on such a false premise.
“I very much hope that policy will swiftly change on the basis of this new, unsurprising data from the Office for National Statistics.
“We are proud to welcome international students from over 140 nationalities here at DMU. They make a huge educational and cultural contribution to our student community, our city and our county and help all of our students become more employable.
“International students also make a significant financial contribution to our region and, according to a recent UUK study, generate more than £25bn for the UK economy.
“At DMU, we are committed to ensuring international students have every opportunity to continue to study here.
“The disclosure of this report has made me more determined to redouble our efforts to ensure goals of our #LoveInternational campaign are realised and to broaden, still further, the reach of our outstanding international mobility scheme, #DMUglobal.”
In the immediate wake of the decision to leave the EU, DMU launched its #LoveInternational campaign.
The initiative both celebrates and reassures international staff and students living and working at universities across the country, and takes this message out overseas.
The campaign has involved DMU holding a series of events in European capitals, celebrating its EU students and staff, as well as its global outlook. These have taken place in Cyprus, Poland, Lithuania and Berlin.
DMU has also organised two huge student experience trips overseas, taking 1,000 students to New York and another 850 to Berlin to promote international study and participate in academic activities and visits unavailable to tourists.
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said in response to the study:
"These two official reports show that there is very high visa compliance by international students. The number of students overstaying their visas is a tiny fraction of previous (incorrect) claims.
"International students make a vital contribution to the UK economy, enrich our campuses and the experience of UK students culturally as well as economically. It is crucial that future student visa policy is developed using robust data.
“This should be coupled with a positive international communications campaign led by government to highlight that international students are welcomed and valued visitors to the UK.”
Posted on Friday 25th August 2017