Overseas Students: Entry Clearances

Department for Education written question – answered on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Alicia Kearns Alicia Kearns Conservative, Rutland and Melton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of changes in the levels of university enrolment among overseas (a) undergraduates and (b) postgraduates as a result of the implementation of a points-based immigration system.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

EU and non-EU students make an invaluable contribution to the UK’s higher education sector, socially, culturally and financially. The UK Government will continue to welcome international students, working towards the ambition set out in our International Education Strategy, to host 600,000 international students per year by 2030.

The latest data from UCAS's 2019 report shows an increase in international applicants, with EU-domicile applicants increasing by 1% and non-EU-domiciled applicants increasing by 8% from 2018.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students will be covered by the points-based immigration system. This will improve on the current system by simplifying and streamlining the student route for both students and sponsors.

To ensure the UK higher education sector remains internationally attractive, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced the new Graduate Route in September 2019. This will offer an opportunity for international students who have passed their degree to stay and work in the UK for two years post-study.

This announcement enables higher education providers to recruit for the 2020/21 academic year on the basis that their students will be eligible for the graduate route, and ensures that all existing students who meet the requirements, and have Tier 4 leave at the point that the route is introduced will be able to benefit.

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