LSE welcomes MPs' report on Brexit challenge for universities

International students bring enormous benefits to this country – culturally, economically – and crucially – with so-called soft power
Big Ben

Welcoming the report of the House of Commons Education Committee, ‘Exiting the EU: challenges and opportunities for higher education, Professor Julia Black, Interim Director of The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), said:

“This report is a timely and vital contribution to the debate on Brexit and UK universities.   As LSE highlighted in its evidence to the committee, the recommendation to remove international students from the total migrant count is an important one. International students bring enormous benefits to this country — culturally, economically and — crucially — so-called ‘soft power’. The vast majority of the UK public recognises and values this contribution and does not view international students as long-term migrants*.

“LSE fully supports the committee’s urgent call on the Government to guarantee the rights of non-UK EU staff, and to introduce an immigration system which facilitates movement in higher education. UK universities are the envy of the world; to retain and build upon this status, we need to be able to continue to recruit and support the most talented staff and students, irrespective of country of origin. By providing skilled graduates for the future workforce, British universities will continue to be a key driver for growth.

“As the committee also suggests, it is advisable for the Government to make contingency plans, in case access to EU funding fails in the long term. As a world-leader in research, the UK benefits enormously from access to EU research funding and collaboration. In facing the research challenges of tomorrow, LSE’s collaborative social science research is helping tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges - from climate change to economic exchange, and from global health to energy conservation."

Behind the article

The full report from the House of Commons Education Committee is available here: Exiting the EU: challenges and opportunities for higher education

*According to a 2016 poll conducted by ComRes for Universities UK only 24% of British adults think of international students as immigrants. Of those that expressed a view, 75% said they would like to see the same number, or more, international students in the UK. This figure rose to 87% of adults once information on the economic benefits of international students was provided.

The poll also revealed that 91% of the British public think international students should be able to stay and work in the UK for a period of time after they have completed their study.

See LSE’s evidence to the inquiry here [PDF]

View the oral evidence from Dr Anne Corbett, Senior Associate of LSE Enterprise