Overseas student numbers in UK up, but EU numbers fall

Number of international students in UK is at highest level since 2011, despite drop in arrivals from European Union

February 28, 2019
Airport arrivals lounge

The number of European Union students coming to the UK dropped by 26 per cent in the past year, but the number of overseas students from outside the bloc reached its highest level in seven years.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 213,000 citizens came to the UK for formal study in the year ending September 2018 – the highest since 2011. About three-quarters of these, or 163,000, were from outside the EU, representing a 23 per cent rise since the previous year.

However, just 39,000 EU students came to the country, compared with 53,000 in the year ending September 2017 – representing a 26 per cent year-on-year drop.

The data are based on International Passenger Survey estimates of long-term international migration – which many have criticised as deeply flawed.

A spokeswoman at Universities UK welcomed the overall growth in the number of international students, but said the UK was still "not keeping pace with other major study destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada".

“There is now a real opportunity for the UK to develop an immigration policy that recognises the value of all international students as temporary visitors and signals that the UK is open to these talented individuals," the spokeswoman said.

“We are calling for a new graduate visa that will make the UK more attractive to international students, allowing a wider range of employers, in all parts of the UK, to benefit from access to talented graduates from around the world.”

James Pitman, managing director for the UK and Europe at Study Group, a company that prepares international students for university, said that while the global higher education student market grew by 22 per cent between 2011 and 2016, the UK’s share rose by only 3.9 per cent in that period.

University College London research last year actually showed Australia overtaking the UK as a destination for international students, with other English-speaking nations such as Canada also making serious inroads,” he said.

“It’s important not to let these statistics take away from the fact that the government should be focused on growing education as an export and as part of this, should seriously consider recommendations put forward by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Students. The higher education sector needs as much support as possible in a challenging post-Brexit environment.”


Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Related articles

Reader's comments (2)

With Brexit looming and a number of top ranking institutions on mainland Europe (with a growing number of courses now being taught in English), why would EU students come to the UK? Fees are also often much higher in the UK than on mainland Europe, certainly for undergraduate degrees. UK institutions should stop navel gazing and realise they are not as special as they think they are. There are much better 'deals' elsewhere, whether on mainland Europe or overseas.
My life was destroyed when my husband sent me packing, after 13 years we have been together. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to my husband back to me. One day at work, I was distracted, not knowing that my boss called me, so he sat and asked me what it was all about, I told him and he smiled and said it was no problem. I never understood what he meant by it was no problem getting back my husband, he said he used a spell to get back his wife when she left him for another man, and now they are together till date and initially I was shocked hearing something from my boss. He gave me an email address of the LORD NOBEL which helped him get his wife back, I never believed that this would work, but I had no choice coming into contact with the sayings that I get done, and he asked for my information and that my husband was able to propose to throw him the spell and I sent him the details, but after two days, my mother called me that my husband was pleading that he wants me back, I never believed, because it was just a dream and I had to rush off to my mother's place and to my greatest surprise, was kneeling my husband beg me for forgiveness that he wants me and the child back home, when I gave LORD NOBEL a conversation regarding sudden change of my husband and he made clear to me that my husband will love me until the end of the world, that he will never leave for another woman. Now me and my husband is back together and started doing funny things he has not done before, he makes me happy and do what it is supposed to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind need, please contact LORD NOBEL for help. His email is lordnoblespellcaster@hotmail.com or lordnoblespellcaster@gmail.com or you can call or whatspp him on this number + 1(817)755-0129

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most commented