Press release

MillionPlus comment on the ONS student migration figures and the Home Office study of international students

24 Aug 2017

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has commented on the latest migration figures released today (24 August) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which show that 97% of international students leave the UK at the end of their studies.

Professor Dave Phoenix, Chair of MillionPlus and Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University, said:

“This official confirmation that the overwhelming majority of international students do return to their home nations on completing their studies is welcome news, and affirms what universities themselves have long argued was the case.

“International students are a tremendous boon to the UK, not just to the economy to which they generate more than £25bn each year, but socially, academically, and culturally as well. It is therefore vital that we make it as clear as possible that Britain’s door is open to them, and having more accurate and reliable data will help us, and the government, strengthen this valuable sector.”

MillionPlus also welcomes today’s announcement by the Home Office that the Migratory Advisory Committee will begin an investigation into the impact of international and EU students in the UK.

Professor Phoenix said:

“We warmly welcome the Home Secretary’s announcement today of an independent study of the impact of international and EU students. We believe such a study will further underline and recognise the enormous contribution these students make to the UK.

“International students benefit every region of the UK, and it is important the country maintains its excellent reputation and is seen as a desirable place to study for students around the world. As we approach Brexit we must also ensure that our universities remain attractive to students from across the EU, so this investigation is extremely timely. I hope that alongside this study we can look forward to working with the government to ensure that universities, the country and our students continue to reap the benefits that international study conveys.”


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. Modern universities: key facts 2017
  3. A comprehensive update on the statistics on immigration for study and emigration after study has been published by ONS today. More information is available here
  4. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email