Overseas Students

Department for Education written question – answered at on 6 July 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking abroad to demonstrate that Britain is open and welcoming to international students.

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

The government has been clear that our world-leading universities, which thrive on being global institutions, will always be open to international students. Engaging closely with other government departments and the higher education sector, the department is working to reassure prospective international students that the UK higher education is ‘open for business’, remains world-class and is a safe and tolerant place to study. This includes continued work with Study UK (the government’s international student recruitment campaign led by the British Council), support for the sector-led #WeAreTogether campaign and a package of bespoke communications that will directly target prospective international students, making clear our world-leading UK offer.

Furthermore, on 22 June, with my counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, I wrote to prospective international students to outline the support and guidance that is available to international students who are considering studying in the UK from the autumn: https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/letter_to_prospective_international_students.pdf. This letter reiterates a number of flexibilities that the government has already announced for international students including, amongst other mitigations, confirmation that distance/blended learning will be permitted for the 2020/21 academic year, provided that international students’ sponsors intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow, and steps to further promote the new graduate route.

The government is committed to continuing to improve our offer to international students, which is why we have announced the new graduate route, which will be introduced in summer 2021. The graduate route will be simple and light-touch and it will permit graduates at undergraduate and masters level to remain in the UK for 2 years and PhD graduates to remain in the UK for 3 years after they have finished their studies in order to work or to look for work at any skill level. This represents a significant improvement in our offer to international students and will help ensure the UK higher education sector remains competitive internationally.

The government is also in discussions with Universities UK and other sector representatives on a regular basis to ensure that we are united in welcoming international students to the UK. In particular, we expect international students - especially those who will be subject to the 14-day self-isolation period - to be appropriately supported upon arrival by their chosen university during these unprecedented times.

In addition, on Friday 5 June, the government announced Sir Steve Smith as the UK’s new International Education Champion. Sir Steve will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, which will include attracting international students to UK Universities. Alongside Sir Steve’s appointment, our review of the International Education Strategy this autumn will respond to the new context and the challenges that are posed by COVID-19 across all education settings to ensure we can continue to welcome international students in the future.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.