Stamp of approval for rational visa policies (3 of 3)

April 12, 2012

A robust immigration system for the UK is to be welcomed, so long as it is proportionate.

The University of Exeter supports the UK Border Agency's efforts to clamp down on abuse in the student visa system, yet we must be vigilant to ensure that regulation does not imperil the finances of universities and the local economies in which they are situated.

A report commissioned from Oxford Economics shows just how profound the impact of international students can be on the local economy. Our international students contribute £88 million a year to Exeter's gross domestic product, supporting 2,880 jobs. Their overall contribution to the South West economy is £104 million, underpinning 3,280 jobs across the region.

In a time of economic uncertainty, it is revealing that since a similar analysis was conducted in April 2010, the contribution to Exeter's economy stemming from the presence of international students has increased by 54 per cent, while supported employment has increased by 36 per cent. International students do not take jobs - they create jobs.

Exeter is committed to attracting the brightest and best students from around the world. For the sake of our local and regional economies, it is essential that the UK continues to welcome international students to its shores. Our report shows that attracting such talent is having a positive and profound impact on us all.

Neil Armstrong, Senior deputy vice-chancellor (internationalisation), University of Exeter

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