We Are International: University pledges support for international students
Universities UK (UUK), the collective voice of 140 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, recently published a report on the importance and impact of international students on the UK economy.
At the same time, the government announced a package of measures to help deliver its goal of falling net migration. That 6-point package included ‘removing the right for international students to brig dependants unless they are on a postgraduate course that is currently designated as research programme’. Other measures which were also announced were welcomed by the sector which included removing the ability of students to switch to a work route before they complete their programme.
It is widely reported and suggested that these packages will come into force from January 2024.
Michael Thompson, Deputy Director of Communications at UUK, said: "Due to negative political and media rhetoric around immigration and international students, as well as sector insights around prospective international students not perceiving the UK to be as welcoming as other competing study destinations, UUKi has been working with others across the sector to reboot and relaunch the #WeAreInternational campaign which is 10 years old this year.
"The aim of the initial moment/relaunch of the campaign is for us all to come together and speak with one voice, sharing our stories and views on the valuable contributions international students make to the UK under the campaign hashtag. Whether a domestic student making a short video talking about how studying with peers from other countries has help broaden their understanding of the world; a local business owner blogging about the value of international students or graduates they have employed; a local resident quoted on their views about international students volunteering in the community."
Yusuff Kaffo, Associate Director International Recruitment (Global Opportunities), said: "It's really important that, as a University, we continue to support our international community of students - both applicants and current students - and this UUK report shows the very positive and broad impact international students have on the UK and how important it is that the UK continues to welcome people to study here.
“We are closely monitoring the advice about international students released by the government and we will update applicants with the relevant information. In the meantime, and most importantly, our existing international cohort should be reassured that their current visa is unaffected but anyone applying for a dependant from January 2024 may need to check the new regulations. We will, however, continue to ensure that their learning journey with us is enjoyable and fruitful.”
Jamie Arrowsmith, Director of Universities UK International said: “This report further highlights the positive contribution that international students make to the UK. They offer both a cultural and social benefit to our country, and make a significant contribution to our economy. We should be proud that our universities continue to attract students from all over the world. It is vital that the UK remains an open and welcoming destination for international students, and that their contribution is recognised and valued. Higher education is one of the UK’s most important and successful exports – but it is truly unique, in that alongside generating a significant economic contribution to the UK our universities have a hugely positive global impact, creating opportunity for millions of learners and helping address some of the most pressing global challenges.”
The University recently hosted a visit by the BBC who interviewed two of our Nigerian students at Telford Campus, Oluwarotimi Lawal (Rotimi), studying for a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering and Titilope Olabanji who is studying for an Undergraduate Mental Health Nursing degree.
Rotimi, 33, started his studies in 2021. He said: "I've had a great experience, with supportive instructors, online learning allowing me to work at my own pace and I've made lots of new friends."
The decision to study at the University was easy for Rotimi who was impressed by the University’s aerodynamics programme.
Titilope had always wanted to study at the University and realises that there is a demand for Mental Health nurses across the UK. She plans to work in the UK for a few years before returning to Nigeria.
The news bulletin was screened on national TV, putting the spotlight on Telford Campus and reinforcing the importance of international students to the UK economy. Other news reports followed online.
Dr Rachel Morgan-Guthrie, Associate Dean for Students and Education, was also interviewed and said students who came with a support network were "more likely to succeed." She added: "I do feel it's incredibly important that we offer those people opportunities as well. When students are studying, they need their dependants near them."
Read more about the journey of one of our Nigerian graduates, Bashir Aminu.
For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.