New Poll: 64% of UK Public Wants International Student Numbers to Remain Unrestricted

A vast majority of the public in the United Kingdom opposes the cap on international students and doesn’t think British Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s plan to reduce migration figures should be the government’s priority, a new poll commissioned from Public First by Universities UK (UUK) has found.

According to data collected between February 28 and March 3, 2023, overall, 64 percent of respondents believe the number of international students in the UK should only increase or at least remain the same but not be restricted.

Opposite of what the majority believes, 21 percent of respondents support limiting international student enrollment. Most respondents – 62 percent admitted international students have contributed more to the UK economy than they have received.

Moreover, 43 percent said students who leave the UK with a positive impression of the country are an advantage for British diplomacy but 11 percent didn’t agree with the statement, claiming the country suffers from students who leave with a negative vision after completing education.

On the other hand, 21 percent of respondents believe that benefits to the UK diplomacy from international students are small or insignificant since students mostly leave without changing their perception of the country.

Chief Executive of UUK, Vivienne Stern, said the results confirm the public’s opinion about immigration, especially international students, is different from what the government may believe.

“The public understands the enormous contribution that international students make to our economy, institutions and research outputs, as well as enormously benefiting the UK’s international reputation,” Stern said.

The polling also found that only 32 percent of respondents think international students should be classified as immigrants in official figures.

Whilst 48 percent of people in the UK believe international students should be allowed to stay in the country for one to five years, 13 percent said students should leave the UK immediately after their studies.

When asked about the government’s decision to allow international students to UK depending on the university, 67 percent of respondents said the government should allow students who meet all the criteria and receive a study offer from a university, to come to the country, regardless of the institution admitting them.

Only 18 percent think the government should give preferential treatment to international students receiving offers from “elite” universities.

Earlier this year, media reported Home Secretary Suella Braverman is planning to introduce new immigration rules, which would affect international student numbers, as the proposal makes it more difficult for students to come to the country with their dependents.

>> UK Universities See Drop in Applications From China, Uptick in Nigerian and Indian Applicants

Image source: Mike Stezycki from Unsplash

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