A new report has shown that the UK is losing out on a huge number of skilled students and skilled workers to more “immigration friendly” nations, which in turn, is damaging the UK economy.

According to the study, one of the main reasons for students choosing to study elsewhere in Europe was due to the limited career options available to them after graduating from university in the UK. The Hobsons International Student Survey found that more than a quarter (26.8%) of UK prospects decided to study in another country, with a further 5.4% choosing to study in their home country and then look for work in the UK. The report found that having to almost immediately leave the UK after completing university was one of the most off-putting aspects of studying in the country.

Skilled Students Survey: Report Findings

The study, which questioned around 45,000 workers, found that according to foreign students UK institutions are still perceived as being of high quality and good value, but are “threatened by an unhelpful policy context and negative impressions.” In the past, the good reputation of institutions has benefited the UK leading to an influx of some foreign students, such as Chinese students. In 2012, 56,535 Chinese students chose to study in the UK, compared to the 25,645 in 2007 with more than 50% of skilled students choosing to remain in the UK and work in the world of business.

By contrast, Indian student numbers, which were 23,985 in 2010, fell to 12,280 in 2012. The respondents to this survey stated that the decrease in Indian students was due to Indian students feeling less welcome in the UK.

In general, a third of those who had considered going to the UK opted to go to another EU country with 11% of all foreign students opting to go to Germany. Since 2012, Germany has experienced a 7% growth in regards to international students, compared to the just under 3% growth seen in the UK. Of those who studied in Germany, more than 20% considered staying and working in the country.

It is predicted that this trend will continue to grow as skilled students and skilled workers opt to go elsewhere rather than work and live in the UK.

The report read: “This trend looks set to continue on the basis of this survey with tomorrow’s international students, meaning that UK universities are set to lose out.

“There is a danger that the ‘English speaking’ advantage is weakening and that factors other than international rankings for institutions and English language teaching are increasingly important to international students.”

The report added: “Germany famously operates a very liberal ‘post-study work’ regime – automatically allowing graduates to live and work in Germany for 18 months after graduation. Other EU countries are actively mimicking the German approach, with France this year signing a bilateral deal with India – for example – to provide two-year post-study work visas for international students who graduate.

“The UK Government controversially abolished similar schemes in 2012 and the difficulty of acquiring work experience in a host country is likely to be a contributing factor to the relative decline in the UK’s popularity as a place to study.”

According to experts, the UK economy is boosted by about £7 billion per annum as a result of the number of foreign students studying in the country and the number pf skilled workers who remain in the country after their studies are complete.

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