The QS International Student Survey, which was issued on May 30, coincides with a fresh update from the UK government on its international education strategy, in which it was acknowledged that the country must “avoid complacency” in order to maintain its position in the industry.
In a statement announcing the findings, QS CEO Nunzio Quacquarelli said, “As a sector, we have encountered extraordinary challenges over the previous two years due to the epidemic.”
“This year’s research examines the IES in the United Kingdom and how institutions may avoid becoming overly reliant on any particular market for international recruiting by adjusting their strategies for distinct geographies,” he stated.
He goes on to explain that such a strategy will most certainly maintain the UK’s performance, which reached its 600,000 student target earlier this year.
“The poll demonstrates that we as a sector can do more to attract students from non-EU source countries – we need to recognize and overcome the challenges that foreign students planning to study in the UK encounter,” said UUKI director Vivienne Stern.
She cites obstacles in their native country, such as visa processing delays and international travel limitations.
It comes after reports that visa application centers for a number of nations, including the United Kingdom, have been closed in China as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 efforts.
The significant findings of the survey, which looked at the opinions of over 110,000 potential international students from all over the world, were that they would be more likely to consider the UK for their studies if it “increased post-study work rights to allow graduates to stay for up to three years.”
While initiatives such as the Graduate Route and a new visa for high-potential international graduates are beginning to emerge in the UK, more needs to be done; less than a fifth of respondents stated they would stay in the UK for more than three years if given the chance.
“While most students are less interested in staying permanently and do want to return home at some point,” a spokeswoman from QS told the Dailion, “the net economic impact of international students is apparent and was recently calculated at £25.9 billion.”
“This is a substantial sum, and it highlights the potential impact on UK economic development of extending the post-study work visa to three years,” they noted.
By implementing the aforementioned, the research strongly suggests that the UK government’s post-study work rights be brought in line “with its competitors.”
The findings that safety was mentioned as the “greatest concern” about studying abroad in China and Saudi Arabia led to the advice of adjusting recruitment techniques.
The most pressing concern about studying abroad in India, Vietnam, and Nigeria was the expense of living, which has been a problem for the UK populace in recent weeks.
Another alarming result in the research concerned mental health: over a fifth of potential international students would be hesitant to approach a university and ask for mental health assistance.
“Because there is still a stigma associated with talking about mental health in many parts of the world,” the spokesperson added, “universities must have procedures and practices in place to accommodate to individual students’ needs.”
“The most effective approach for colleges to make headway on this issue is to have access to professional services in this area that can properly prioritize the anonymity of users,” they concluded.
“It’s critical that the UK higher education system continues to value the diversity of each year’s international student intake, working to meet the unique needs of each prospective student,” Stern said.