HE Commission launches 'Staying Ahead: Are International Students Going Down Under?'

HE Commission's new report sets out 12 point plan as the Government is set to miss its £30 Billion exports target

The Higher Education Commission is today releasing research that recommends a 12-point plan for protecting the UK’s gold standard international HE sector. Our higher education sector is world leading, but is set to be leapfrogged by Australia in international student enrolments. The Commission wants our fifth biggest service sector in the economy to flourish, not flat line. 

Competitor strategies include friendly visa processes and post-study rights to work. Australia’s higher education strategy is targeted at encouraging the growing Chinese (currently the UK’s biggest source of international students) and Indian middle classes to study down under. It includes their ambitious student numbers target, streamlined visa policies, and accessible post-study work visas which help them achieve high levels of growth.

The Commission says that setting a ‘friendly environment’ target for increasing international student numbers into the UK will send a welcoming message that is currently absent. 

The target must require all departments to work collaboratively to achieve the following:

  • The Department for Education, supported by the Home Office, should roll out an improved Tier 4 pilot based on recruiting from target growth countries such as India and Nigeria 
  • The Home Office must simplify visa procedures and reduce burdens on Tier 4 university sponsors
  • The Department for International Trade must re-invigorate the “Education is GREAT” campaign, working with universities to maximise impact
  • The Department for International Development should allocate a proportion of foreign aid spending to provide scholarships and pathway programmes, match funded by universities
  • Home Office and British Council should review the number and location of English language test centres to attract the brightest and best students, not the richest

You can download the report here

Photographs from the launch event can be found here.

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    Nicky Morgan MP. Policy Connect. HE Commission. Skills Commission