Last week I joined a Parliamentary reception hosted by the #WeAreInternational campaign, which is supported by hundreds of businesses, universities and organisations to highlight the economic, social and cultural benefits that international students bring to UK towns and cities.
Over 5700 international students study at Cardiff University, and many thousands more at the University of South Wales and Cardiff Met, which also have campuses in my constituency of Cardiff Central.
At the event we heard from leading business organisations about the benefits international students bring to the UK's economy and knowledge base.
Professor Rebecca Hughes, Director of Education at the British Council, and Neil Carberry, Director of People and Skills at the CBI, explained how:
- £25.8 billion is generated for the UK through on and off-campus spending by international students and their visitors (Universities UK, 2017)
- Spending by international students supported 206,000 jobs all over the UK (Universities UK, Oxford Economics report)
- Two thirds (64 per cent) of British adults think international students have a positive impact on the local economics of the towns and cities in which they study (ComRes, April 2017).
- Almost one in seven countries around the world has a prime minister or head of state who studied in a UK higher education institution (British Council, 2014)
The event was hosted by the All Party Parliament Group (APPG) on International Students, of which I'm a member.
The three universities in my constituency benefit hugely from the contributions made by international students. Bringing the best minds to Cardiff and Wales enables our universities to produce world-leading research across a whole range of academic disciplines.
Universities are already facing challenges as a result of Brexit, and I'll continue to stand by the higher education sector along with the #WeAreInternational campaign to make sure international students are able to study in the UK and that we can benefit from all that they contribute to both academia and the wider economy.
The #WeAreInternational campaign is supported by hundreds of universities, businesses and organisations globally. See http://www.weareinternational.org.uk