Press release

MillionPlus response to the MAC inquiry on overseas students

26 Jan 2018

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, today (26 January) publishes its response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) call for evidence on the impact of overseas students.

The MAC was tasked by the Home Office to establish the costs and benefits of overseas students (both international and EU) to the UK, gathering evidence from across the higher education sector and beyond. It will report its findings to the government.

The MillionPlus submission outlines the many ways in which overseas students are a hugely positive addition to UK universities, contributing educationally and economically to the success of the sector, and to the UK economy. The benefits of both international and EU students vastly outweigh any costs to the country. The submission spells out the importance of treating EU and international students as distinct groups.

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“The evidence is overwhelmingly clear that overseas students are a tremendous asset to our world-leading university sector and to the rich tapestry of life in the UK. International and EU students support our national economy to the tune of billions of pounds each year and are pivotal to jobs and prosperity in our local and regional economies. The presence of these students boosts job creation and increases the diversity and sustainability of provision for British students across the country. We know how transformative the effect of studying alongside individuals from different backgrounds and cultures can be for all students.

“As we negotiate a future relationship with Europe, finding a new place in the world, it is in our obvious national interest to make it clear unequivocally to overseas students that the country is open, and they are welcome.”

To build on the positives that the UK already enjoys, concerning overseas students, MillionPlus outlines in its submission that the government should:

  • reform the current visa system of applications for international students, to reduce trade barriers and boost educational exports
  • make sure that the UK remains attractive and competitive for EU students, which may include the continuation of some elements of the current relationship
  • take international students out of the net migration figures
  • re-introduce a post-study work visa scheme.


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. Modern universities: key facts 2017
  3. The full MillionPlus response is available here
  4. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email