Policy Priorities – 2017 Parliament

Our recommendations for boosting UK education exports

International Education generates more than £20 billion for the UK economy each year, distributing vital capital, skills and investment across UK nations, regions and communities.

What can the government do to protect and strengthen this vital export industry?

Strategic coordination of activity and messaging to promote UK education overseas

  • Renew the UK’s commitment to growth in international education with a cross-government strategy to achieve education exports of £30 billion by 2022.
  • Establish an International Education Taskforce to deliver this strategy with representation across the key departments and a lead Minister as Chair.
  • Use the data and communications expertise of the GREAT Campaign to ensure that international audiences receive consistent and positive messages about UK policy.

Building the evidence base to underpin effective policies on international education

  • Invest in robust and flexible data systems to ensure public confidence in the management of information around international students and staff in the UK.
  • Use entry and exit checks at the UK Border to maintain an accurate record of numbers in the UK, with a minor role for a reformed International Passenger Survey.
  • Place reliable and accurate data at the heart of the post-Brexit visa regime, helping the design of policies which serve Britain’s economic and diplomatic interests.

Deliver a Brexit which protects our industry and the communities it serves

  • Confirm the rights of EU nationals to work and study in the UK by early 2018 in order to minimise disruption and protect the viability of courses for UK students.
  • Continue to welcome European students and staff into our schools, colleges and universities by minimising any visa requirements or other barriers to mobility.
  • Adopt a phased approach to the implementation of any new visa processes to protect students already committed to education in the UK and safeguard our reputation.

A clear and streamlined visa system which protects diversity and student choice

  • Streamline the complex visa rules to give international students clear rights and responsibilities appropriate to their age and level, wherever they choose to study.
  • Regularly review the benefits and opportunities which international students in the UK enjoy to ensure we remain in a leading position against our global competitors.
  • Match our world class professional education and wide choice of placements with clear routes for graduates to apply their new skills to the benefit of the UK economy.

The above recommendations were developed by Exporting Education UK in discussions with providers and representative bodies across the UK education sector, including schools, colleges, universities and English language providers.