From education to employment

A fall in international students is bad news for businesses

uni students standing outside

There has been a significant drop in the UK’s international student applications.

  • Official government figures show a 5% decrease in international students.
  • Universities UK, which represents mainstream universities and colleges, show that the number of study visas issued has fallen by 33% this year compared with the same time last year. 
  • A separate survey of 70 universities by UUK found that enrolments in postgraduate taught courses were down by more than 40% since January’s immigration changes.
  • Moreover, figures from Enroly (published by FT), which is used to manage one in three offers to overseas students, showed a 37 per cent drop in the number of international offers for UK postgraduate courses in January 2024 compared with January last year.

There has already been uproar from the universities who raise the impact on the education industry but also on the potential impact on local economies. But businesses are also watching with concern as the UK government’s immigration policies further worsen the UK’s talent shortage which has been an issue since the pandemic. 

“Businesses need the government to encourage, not deter, young people around the world from studying at UK universities”

Karoli Hindriks, CEO and Co-founder of Jobbatical said:

“A fall in international students is bad news for businesses. International students have always provided an important talent stream for businesses looking for skilled and specialist workers. The government’s bid to cut immigration figures by targeting international students is shortsighted and is not being looked at kindly by the business community. 

“Let’s not forget that foreign-born entrepreneurs are responsible for a huge amount of the UK’s GDP. Despite just 15% of the UK’s population being foreign-born, 39% of the country’s fastest-growing companies are set up by foreign-born entrepreneurs.

“The talent shortage in healthcare has been well documented but vacancies are through the roof in almost every sector, from manufacturing to AI. Businesses need a steady stream of skilled workers and domestic talent alone simply isn’t enough to fill current and future vacancies. 

“To tackle the talent shortage, the government should be spending less time making knee-jerk immigration policies and more time making sure the UK is attracting the best of global talent and entrepreneurship. Businesses need the government to encourage, not deter, young people around the world from studying at UK universities”

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