Nearly half of international students would view the UK as an unfavourable place to study if Britain voted to leave the European Union, according to a new study.
The survey of more than 1700 international students in the UK, conducted by the student recruitment company Hobsons, found that 47 percent felt the UK less attractive in the event of a Brexit.
Only 17 percent thought Brexit would make the UK more attractive as a destination for higher education.
However, when broken down further into EU and non-EU respondents, the results were even starker.
More than 80 per cent of EU international students said they would find the UK less attractive while 35 per cent of non-EU students agreed.
On the basis of the study’s findings, nearly 5000 students from India and the US – the second and third ranked countries of origins of international students in the UK, would be at risk of being dissuaded from studying in the UK.
A conservative estimate of the cost of lost fee income from the 35 per cent of non-EU international students – including those from China – would exceed £690 million a year, while the wider economic impact would be far higher, the study found.
The concerns over international students’ right to remain in the UK after studying were also thrown into the spotlight by the global survey.
Of the 43,919 overall respondents, about 47 per cent planned to stay in the country in which they studied for a period after completing studies.
Fifteen per cent said they wanted to migrate permanently, while 32 per cent said they planned to stay temporarily in their destination country on a post-study work visa.