Press release

MillionPlus comment on the Migration Advisory Committee report

11 Sep 2018

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has commented on the Migration Advisory Committee report on international students in the UK published today (11 September).

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“The Migration Advisory Committee’s report represents a missed opportunity for the continued influence and reputation of the UK’s world class university sector.

“While the MAC is right to document the highly positive impact of international students in the UK, the Committee appears to set aside - without a clear rationale – the compelling evidence submitted to change the UK’s self-defeating policy of restricting the numbers of international students. I would challenge the MAC’s view that including international students in the overall migration target has little or no impact on recruitment – there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.   

“We call on the government, through the Immigration Bill expected at the end of the year, to unite around a common-sense policy to encourage international students to study in the UK. This should be a joined-up strategy implemented across all relevant government departments and the devolved administrations.

“While Britain has been treading water on international recruitment in recent years our competitor countries have benefitted from a significant boost to their student numbers. As our exit from the EU looms, the opportunities presented by international students must be seized and our offer to these students consolidated. Such a move would represent a clear step change in delivering on the promise of building a global Britain in the years to come.”


Notes to editors

  • For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email
  • MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  • What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  • The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is an independent, non-statutory, non-time limited, non-departmental public body that advises the government on migration issues. The report is available here.
  • Modern universities: key facts 2018