A survey completed by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found a decrease in the number of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs in power that had been educated in the UK. In addition to this, the Migration Observatory revealed that the level of ‘formal study’ migrants has dropped dramatically since 2010.
These findings have fuelled concern that immigration policy is beginning to restrict the number of overseas students enrolling at British universities.
HEPI’s director, Nick Hillman, stated that the UK risks ‘losing valuable international influence’ if this continues.
The reduction of world leaders and general overseas migrants studying in the UK may create losses both politically and economically for the country.
The potential political loss of Britain’s ‘soft power’ from fewer world leaders being educated in the UK could be detrimental in times where international relations are critical.
As well as the threat to ‘soft power’ the economic benefits overseas students bring to the UK must be seriously considered as according to a report from HEPI they add some £20bn to the economy.
The power and wealth that student migrants bring to the UK are therefore incredible benefits to Britain’s position both politically and economically and action needs to be taken to ensure the country does not lose out on either.
Therefore, despite the current decrease in student migrant numbers, the future is hopeful as Theresa May is under pressure to omit international students from the immigration target figures with the aim of encouraging overseas students to study in the UK and remain attracted to the high quality of educational institutions the country offers.
Over time, it is hoped that student migrant levels should increase, in turn adding to the economy and reinforcing the country’s political position through growing the number of world leaders and influential individuals educated here.
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