United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union is causing the country to lose billions of dollars from foreign students, as many of them prefer Canada, the United States and Australia to it.
The UK may lose its status as the world’s second most sought-after destination for international students, with their contribution to the UK economy being more than $33 billion in 2014-15.
A survey conducted in 2016 saw 30 percent of international students saying that they were no longer interested in studying the UK after it chose to leave the EU in a referendum that year. Another six percent stated emphatically that they would not consider studying in Britain to study owing to Brexit.
The British government’s figures also revealed that the number of students from India at UK’s universities declined by 10 percent in the last one year.
Oxford Economics was quoted by USA Today as saying that because of international students, 206,600 jobs were supported in 2014-15 in the country’s university towns and cities. Tuition fees paid by international students’ ranges from $12,000 to $43,000 per year while it is only $11,380 per year for British and EU students.
Yinbo Yu, an economics student from China, a representative of international students in the National Union of Students, said quite a few of his friends who completed their undergraduate degrees in the UK were moving to Canada, Australia and the United States to pursue their masters or other further education.
The number of Chinese students pursuing courses in Australia rose to almost 50,000 in 2016, a rise of 23 percent compared to 2015. Gary Fan, who is a student at the business school of the University of Sydney, was quoted the Financial Review website as saying that one of the attractions of studying in Australia was that a temporary graduate visa would let him work there for up to four years after he graduates.
On the other hand, Yu said the UK government has abolished a post-study work visa program and is charging the foreign students now to use the National Health Service.
Keith Burnett, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said that although the British government was tightening some rules for some valid reasons, they had gone overboard.
Burnett is also a co-founder of #WeAreInternational, a campaign whose objective is to demonstrate that foreign students were still welcome to the UK.
He added that they had to convey the message strongly to foreign students that there are communities across Britain which were very accommodating.
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