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‘A UK education opens doors, wherever you go in the world’: Government letter to international students

23 June 2020

Education and Universities Ministers in the UK write to prospective international students reassuring them the UK is still a welcoming destination for their studies. 

Study Group has warmly welcomed a letter to international students from UK Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP together with Education Ministers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the Minister for Exports at the Department of International Trade. 

The open letter published yesterday addresses key areas such as visas, health and university preparedness, as well as confirming the UK’s long tradition of welcoming talented international students from around the world:

“The UK has a highly tolerant, multicultural society, with a rich diversity of cultures, languages, and faiths. Recruitment for 2020/21 is happening now and our universities are very much looking forward to welcoming you. UK higher education has a well-established reputation for high quality – our universities are among the best in the world. There are four UK providers amongst the top 10 in the world, and 18 providers in the top 100. Our universities also have an outstanding reputation for world-class research, which has been showcased during this global pandemic as many are at the forefront of global efforts to understand the coronavirus, provide specialist equipment and combat COVID-19.

“Our graduates are proven to be among the most desirable in the world. Over 50 serving world leaders have benefited from a British education, and 83% of international graduates surveyed by Universities UK International (UUKi) said their UK degree helped them get their job. A UK education opens doors, wherever you go in the world.”

Reassuring international students

Responding to the letter, Study Group Chief Executive Officer Emma Lancaster said:

“We are delighted to see policy changes introduced by the Government to welcome international students. In particular the recent changes to post-study work, which will now be available to international graduates for two years, including those who have undertaken part of their studies online due to COVID-19.

“These practical changes and this initiative to directly address international students looking to the UK as a study destination will go a long way to reassuring prospective international students that the UK is still the best destination for their studies. It will also help to ensure the sector remains competitive and help the joint International Education Strategy meet its education export target.”

The letter was also warmly welcomed by universities and sector bodies as well as business representatives who have been longstanding advocates for positive policies for international students.

A genuine welcome through tangible policies 

According to James Pitman, Study Group's Managing Director for UK & Europe and Chair of Exporting Education UK, demonstrating a genuine welcome for international students through tangible policies will be fundamental to the UK recruiting a positive share of international students in the face of COVID-19. He said:

“Now is a critical moment for international students considering their study options and it is understandably an uncertain and stressful time to do so. These students and their families need to be sure that the decision to study in the UK is the right one for their futures, and that their investment will be rewarded with support once they arrive and the opportunity to contribute through early career opportunities for a period once they graduate.

“There is now a common understanding across government that this will be a key priority for a global Britain rebuilding our economy and new industries of the future after the coronavirus. International students also play a significant role in levelling up towns and cities across the UK with their injection of funding, vitality and talent. These are relationships the UK is keen to develop and strengthen through the much-needed International Education Strategy, so I am delighted that the Minister has listened to advice from the education sector and that she has reached out directly to students in this way.”

View the full letter from the Education and Universities Ministers to international students

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