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Here's what you need to know about the UK's new international education strategy

Yes, there are revisions for the better but are they enough?
BY Skendha Singh |   18-03-2019

BrainGain Magazine
Image credit: University of Leeds

The UK government has announced a new international education strategy which plans to increase international student numbers from the current 460,000 to 600,000. The strategy also wants to boost British education exports from 20 billion to 35 billion.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds, said, “As we prepare to leave the EU it is more important than ever to reach out to our global partners and maximize the potential of our best assets – that includes our education offer and the international students this attracts.” The move comes after EU enrollments dipped slightly last year.

The strategy revises current post-study work visa options for international students. After graduating with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, international students will have the right to work for 6-months. PhD students will be allowed to work for a year. While this is a change, in comparison with the flexible visa policies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, this revision is modest. And a flexible PSW visa policy is not just a practical necessity for an international student, it also projects a welcoming image of the host country.

Chief executive of the Russell Group of leading research-based universities, Tim Bradshaw, said: “We have asked for much more ambitious post-study visas to make sure we are competitive. That would recognize foreign students’ value to the economy and society beyond tuition fees.”

The new strategy also aims to revise visa interview processes for international students. Nick Hillman, head of the Education Policy Institute told the media, “This is all welcome stuff, including the new targets. But it is guaranteed that the targets won’t be hit unless there are further policy changes.” 

Universities UK President, president Janet Beer made a similar statement: “I particularly welcome the ambitious target to grow the number of international students to 600,000 by 2030 which sends a strong message of welcome. We would like the government to go further and extend this opportunity to at least two years and we will continue to urge them on this point.”

This education strategy will also push the development of global partnerships, tighter collaboration across the departments on international education policy and a call for bids into the £5m GREAT Challenge Fund to promote the UK internationally.


More on studying in the UK here:
British universities bear the brunt of Brexit as EU enrollments decline
International students are starting to pick France over the US and the UK. Here's why.
5 challenges and tips for international students in the UK
How to earn money while you're studying in the UK
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