International Students No Longer Want to Go to the UK

A potential overhaul in the UK’s post-study work visa program is causing a significant decline in international student applications, notably impacting universities nationwide. This trend has sparked concerns among educators, policymakers, and industry stakeholders regarding its potential repercussions on academic diversity, economic vitality, and the vibrancy of the UK’s higher education sector.


  • A survey conducted by the British Universities’ International Liaison Association involving 75 universities revealed a staggering 90% decrease in applications from international students for the upcoming academic year.
  • Applications for postgraduate courses, commonly favored by international students, have witnessed a 27% decline compared to the previous year.

Graduate Visa Program

The primary driver behind this decline is the ongoing review of the Graduate Route visa, allowing international graduates to work in the UK for up to two years after completing their studies. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is currently evaluating the program, leading to significant uncertainty surrounding the government’s decision based on their findings.


Universities UK, representing the collective voice of universities nationwide, warns that any restrictions on the graduate visa could have dire consequences. The program not only generates substantial financial benefits through tuition fees but also fosters a diverse academic environment.


The UK’s flourishing creative sector, valued at £108 billion annually, also voices apprehension. A collaborative letter from Creative UK and Universities UK urges the government to uphold the program, emphasizing its critical role in attracting and retaining talented graduates vital for industry growth.

Future Outlook

While the UK government emphasizes its commitment to balancing net migration control with attracting skilled international students, the future of the Graduate Route visa remains uncertain. This leaves universities and international students in a state of anticipation.

Key Points

  • The official report from the Migration Advisory Committee on the Graduate Route visa.
  • The UK government’s final decision on the future of the program.
  • Potential long-term implications on international student enrollment in UK universities.

This situation underscores the delicate equilibrium between immigration policies and the economic and educational benefits of attracting international students. As developments unfold, it’s imperative to monitor the government’s decisions and their potential ramifications for universities and the broader UK economy.

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