Research from the London School of Economics has shown that international students enrolled in UK higher education institutions contributed over £37bn to the UK economy.
These figures for the 2021/22 academic year include 14,905 international students in Wales, who have contributed £1.26bn to the Welsh economy.
Here in Cardiff Central, we see the benefits international students bring in their contribution across our three world leading universities. The net impact of the approximately 2,000 international students in Cardiff Central is estimated at around £168.9m.
The report from the London School of Economics has identified the contribution that international students bring to the UK economy. There has been a 40% increase in the number of international students between 2018/19 and 2021/22, and the net economic impact per student was estimated to be £125,000 per EU domiciled student, and £96,000 per non-EU student.
The UK remains the aspiration destination for a great number of international students, attracted by the global reputation of our higher education institutions, including universities across Wales. However, the divisive rhetoric from the Conservative Government on migration, including on international students, is tarnishing our reputation as an aspiration destination.
The Tory rhetoric also damages the UK’s soft power globally. Many world leaders studied at UK universities (think Barack Obama, Benazir Bhutto and Bill Clinton), as did members of governments. Global leaders in medicine, industry, science, innovation, culture – did the same. Those experiences shape how the UK is seen and respected across the world. And the Tories don’t think that’s either important or worth building on. It makes no sense.
Labour is committed to advancing the interests of all students, including international students. Here in Wales, our Welsh Labour Government is already leading by example with the £65m Taith international learning exchange programme. Taith enables education staff and students to spend time abroad as part of their studies as well as bringing students and educators from around the world to Wales.