Survey reveals people's views on international students

In relation to the UK government’s immigration policy, only 26% of adults in the South West think of international students as immigrants. The findings were revealed in a new poll conducted by ComRes for Universities UK.

The survey found that 63% of adults in South West of England think international students have a positive impact on the local economies of the towns and cities in which they study. 61% of those surveyed believe that international students also have a valuable social and cultural impact on university towns and cities in the South West region.

71% of those surveyed in the South West also believe that international students should be allowed to work in the UK for a fixed period of time after they have graduated, rather than returning immediately to their home country after completing their studies.

The poll shows that, while there remain concerns about immigration levels in many parts of the country, the public recognise the substantial gains to towns, cities and regions from having international students in their area. The results also show that universities play a critical role in ensuring that their international connections help benefit the region.

Based on the view of those surveyed in the South West of England, the poll found that:

In relation to the UK government's immigration policy, only 26% of adults in the South West think of international students as immigrants

·         63% of adults in the South West think international students have a positive impact on the local economies of the towns and cities in which they study

·         61% of adults in the South West agree that this economic contribution helps to create jobs

·         61% of adults in the South West think that international students have a valuable social and cultural impact on the towns and cities in which they live

·         71% of adults in the South West agree that international students should be able to work in the UK for a fixed period of time after they have graduated, rather than returning immediately to their home country after completing their study

Commenting on the findings from the ComRes poll, Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter (pictured) said: “International students are a hugely important part of our community and we are pleased to see that members of the public in the South West recognise and value their contribution.

“International students generated £612 million in export earnings for the South West, and expenditure from international students supported 2,832 full-time equivalent jobs.

“Exeter, in particular, would be poorer culturally and socially as well as economically without international students.”