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International students should be welcomed, says report

Students from abroad enrolled at London universities contribute £2.3 billion to the British economy, according to research published today.

Such students spent some £2.8bn on tuition fees, subsistence and visits from friends and families, but only consumed £540 million of public funds through their use of the NHS and other services in 2013-14, says the report from lobby group London First and PwC, a consultancy.

However the UK government has pledged to “reform the student visa system” and “clamp down” on universities’ satellite campuses in London, although it has yet to provide details of how these goals will be implemented. It has said that it will continue with plans to bring net migration down by more than two-thirds, into the tens of thousands, prompting speculation that this will result in tougher visa rules. For universities, this is likely to include a review of their Highly Trusted Sponsor status and implementation of measures to “tackle abuse” that were published in the Conservatives election manifesto.

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