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Overseas Students: Entry Clearances

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 9 March 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has made an estimate of the effects of recent changes in the tier 4 points-based visa system on (a) the number of overseas students attending UK universities over the next 10 years and (b) the income of UK universities over the next 10 years. (321314)

The changes to tier 4 of the points- based system, announced by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 10 February, are designed to ensure that there are no barriers to higher education institutions offering courses to genuine international students.

Demand from international students to study in the UK has grown considerably over recent years and early indications are that it continues to grow in 2010. We do not forecast the likely numbers of international students studying in the UK for future years. It is entirely up to universities to decide how many international students they enrol. In 2007-08 universities derived approximately 8 per cent. of their income from international students.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear at the start of the year we believe there is scope to double the value of higher education exports, both through continuing to recruit international students as well as the delivery of courses and qualifications abroad.