International students in the UK make up a large percentage of the total higher education student population. Apart from that, they contribute to the UK economy in billions. Int’l students’ value is twofold; they diversify the country and contribute to its economy. In addition, they benefit by pursuing quality education, boosting their careers, and earning an unmatched university experience.
The UK Universities Minister has outlined the measures to support international students in the higher education sector. This sector understands and values the importance of international students, especially now that the presence of int’l students in the UK has been ‘threatened’ by the coronavirus pandemic. The Government has set out to provide additional support for the ambitious minds who are planning to apply to study in the UK in the upcoming academic year.
Recently, Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, spoke at the British Council’s Going Global online event, emphasising that the doors to the leading UK universities are open to international students and that the Government is working vigorously in order to ensure a flexible and simple approach to the processes students have to go through to study at UK higher education institutions.
Among the support measures stated by the Minister, she announced the appointment of Sir Steve Smith as an International Education Champion. Smith will work towards increasing and communicating the popularity of UK as a study destination around the world. The new International Education Champion will also tackle the barriers to education exports as well as highlight exporting opportunities to the sector.
“International students are an integral part of our society, culture and economy and we are proud that so many international students come here every year to study. That is why I want to stress to overseas students at this unprecedented time that they will always be welcome in this country,” said Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan.
Upon accepting his role, Professor Sir Steve Smith said:
“UK education is outstanding and my focus will be on promoting the whole sector from early years, primary and secondary education, further and higher education and the skills we can uniquely offer. Educational exports and international students contribute billions to our economy and enrich our society in so many different ways. I am truly excited by the prospect to enhance education here and across the world.”
According to a survey conducted by Studying-in-UK.org portal, the plans of a large number of international students have been affected, in one way or another, by the pandemic. Minister Donelan stressed that one of the top priorities right now is supporting international students and that it is critical at the present time to work together internationally, share knowledge and manage to tackle the challenges that the higher education worldwide is facing.
Universities will be financially affected if international students decide to cancel their plans to study in the UK. As part of the support package announced last month, for universities and students, the UK Government claimed that The Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) are working to see how the International Education Strategy can be updated to perfectly respond to the current situation.
Among the measures taken up until now, international students in the UK have been provided with a flexible approach to their visas in order to ensure that the immigration system receives as little disruption as possible. The launch of the new Graduate Route in the summer of 2021 is expected to attract even more international students to the UK, considering they will be able to work in the UK up to two years upon graduation.
If you have any questions as an international student in the UK during coronavirus, refer to our FAQs section here.