Statement from the founders of the #WeAreInternational campaign on International Students' Day

On International Students' Day (Friday 17 November 2017), Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, and Santhana Gopalakrishnan, International Officer at Sheffield Students’ Union, call on the UK government to recognise the vital economic, cultural and social contributions international students bring to the UK.

Statement from the founders of #WeAreInternational on International Students' Day

On International Students' Day (Friday 17 November 2017), we call on the UK government to immediately remove international students from net migration targets and to increase opportunities for talented international graduates to remain in the UK once they complete their studies. The reintroduction of the two-year post-study work visa would not only allow international students to offset the cost of their studies and increase their employability when they return to their home countries - it will also bring crucial skills the UK economy desperately needs.

World Week Parade

As the founders of the #WeAreInternational campaign, now supported by more than 100 universities across the UK, the University of Sheffield and its Students’ Union are committed to welcoming international students and are proud and thankful for all they bring to our country.

In Sheffield, we are grateful for the investment and vibrancy our international students bring to our city - more than £120 million into our local economy each year, accounting for around 10 per cent of inward investment. Our city regeneration and the growth of many small businesses owes a huge amount to international students.

The #WeAreInternational campaign was founded in the spirit of treasuring universities as places of international exchange and mutual respect.

Professor sir keith burnett and Santhana Gopalakrishnan

We also recognise the vital contribution that international students make to the facilities and research which underpin the reputation of the UK’s universities. In Sheffield, we would not have been able to build our £81 million Diamond building - the University’s largest ever investment in learning and teaching - without the crucial contribution of international students.

However, students who study at Sheffield’s two universities and college make a contribution to our city which is much more than simply financial. They work in our hospitals, schools and businesses and volunteer for more than 140 Sheffield charities. Years after they leave their adopted home city, they are global ambassadors for the region, its people and the UK. They feel proud of the education and friendships they made here and we are proud that they go on to make the world a better place, working as scientists, engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers and leaders in more than 100 countries.

The #WeAreInternational campaign was founded in the spirit of treasuring universities as places of international exchange and mutual respect. We urge the UK government to recognise the vital economic, cultural and social contributions international students bring to our country, both in word and deed.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield and co-founder of the #WeAreInternational campaign
Santhana Gopalakrishnan, International Officer at Sheffield Students’ Union