University of Sheffield and city region speak with one voice on international students

  • University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis MP to give evidence to All Party Parliamentary Group on the regional impact of international students in Parliament today (11 September 2018)
  • Calls for policy change to better welcome international students are supported by business representatives and civic leaders, including Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Sheffield Council Cabinet Member responsible for Business and Investment and Sheffield’s Lord Mayor
  • Independent Higher Education Policy Institute report shows Sheffield Central is the UK constituency with the highest per resident economic benefit from international students

we are international

The University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis MP will give evidence to an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the regional impact of international students in Parliament today (11 September 2018).

The APPG for International Students, which is chaired by Lord Bilimoria and Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, is meeting on the day the government's Migration Advisory Committee reports on the impact of international students, in the face of nationwide calls from students, universities and businesses to introduce policies that make the UK a more attractive destination for students from around the world.

Ruth Arnold, Director of Public Affairs at the University of Sheffield and Chair of the UK Board of the #WeAreInternational campaign, will tell the committee about the importance of international students to the city and region.

She said: "I am very proud that our University is speaking with one voice with our region, its businesses and civic leaders on the powerful contribution made by international students.

rishwev“It is not just the economic impact which represents 10 percent of inward investment in our region – it is the fact that students from around the world serve as trainee doctors in local hospitals, they volunteer and fundraise for local charities and they support local businesses."

She added: "Our city and region know that our universities are drivers of opportunity and economic growth but we can only play this role because our world-leading facilities and teaching are underpinned by international students.

“And if the UK and its regions want to continue to be a magnet for global talent, we will have to ensure our policies support this ambition.”

This approach was endorsed by Sheffield Council Cabinet Member responsible for Business and Investment, Councillor Mazher Iqbal, who said: "International students are one of the most important contributors to Sheffield's economy and many city centre businesses depend upon them. But we cannot take their willingness to come to the UK and to add so much to our cities and regions for granted.

"People sometimes misunderstand international students and think they are all wealthy, but sometimes it has taken a huge sacrifice by a family to send their child to Britain to study.

“A short period of work after study helps these young people and their families manage that, while also bringing their talents and energies into our local workforce, often in areas where we have shortages of skills such as engineering. It's a win for everybody and I very strongly support the efforts to improve policy in this area."

The APPG evidence session follows a new proposal by Universities UK on the introduction of a period of post-study work to help attract talented overseas students to the UK.

jiaqiSpeaking at the Universities UK Annual Conference in Sheffield last week, Universities Minister Sam Gyimah acknowledged the vital contribution made by international students to the UK, adding: “If we want a university system that is global and competitive, then we should be looking to a more open approach to international students.”

The UUK proposal has been supported by civic and business leaders in Sheffield, including Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. Richard Wright, Executive Director, said: "It is very important to the future prosperity of Sheffield that the UK has a globally competitive offer to international students who make such an important contribution to our local economy and to the skills businesses need to trade and win orders around the world.

“Making the UK and Sheffield more attractive to these talented young people is a win-win approach and will secure this vital inward investment for local industry and people."

Additional information

The two main universities in the Sheffield City Region have students and graduates from more than 140 countries.
Total number (from December 2017):
Sheffield University - 7,388
Sheffield Hallam - 3,359
International college - 738
Total: 11,458

Economic impact on the region
Around 4,000 international students join Sheffield's universities. Each year's intake directly contributed over £360 million to the local economy during the course of their studies.

In 2013, the UK's first independent study into the net economic impact of international students by Oxford Economics showed that international students contributed 10 percent of the inward investment into the city region. The report also noted that international students were especially important in key areas such as engineering and computer science where there were skills shortages in the region.

The 2018 Higher Education Policy Institute report into the economic impact of international students across the UK revealed the 2,456 international students who started their studies in the Sheffield Central constituency in 2015/16 will contribute £226.0 million each year to the economy during their studies - equivalent to £1,961 per constituent per annum in the constituency. This is the highest per constituent impact in the UK.

The University of Sheffield
With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046