Thursday, February 12, 2015

Foreign students on F-1 student visas add billions to US economy

A new report from the Institute of International Education (IIE) confirms that record numbers of overseas students now study in America at US universities. The total number of US student visa holders for the year 2013-2014 was 886,052.


Foreign Students Contribute $26.8 billion to the US economy

The record numbers of foreign students studying in the US have contributed $26.8 billion to the US economy, and have created or supported 340,000 jobs, according to data from the National Association of International Educators (NAFSA). Students spend money mainly on accommodation, student fees and living expenses.

The $26.8 billion spent by student visa holders in the US represents a 12 percent increase on last year. The data also shows an 8.5% increase in job support and creation. This means that for every seven international students enrolled in US universities, there are three US jobs created. The jobs created are in higher education, and also in the accommodation, retail, transport, dining and telecommunications sectors.

NAFSA CEO Marlene M. Johnson said that foreign students studying in the US contribute far more than just money. She said "We cannot underestimate their immeasurable academic and cultural contributions to America's colleges, universities and local communities"

She added that international students also "bring global perspectives into U.S. classrooms and research labs, and support U.S. innovation through science and engineering coursework."



US has highest percentage share of foreign students in the World

The figures from NAFSA and IIE also show that the US still has the highest percentage share of foreign students. This is despite the US seeing a decrease in its share from 28% of international students in 2001 to about 19% in 2011. Because Worldwide there has been significant growth in students studying abroad even with a smaller percentage share of the market the US has still seen growth in student numbers.

Johnson argues that the US may see a further reduction in its market share of international students and overall student numbers if immigration reforms are not introduced.



Without Immigration Reform there may be a decline in foreign student numbers

She said "If Congress doesn't take action and pass commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform, we will lose talented international students. The billions of dollars they contribute to this nation, along with the invaluable academic and cultural contributions they bring, will be at risk."

Fortunately, Obama's immigration reforms via executive action may help the situation. With expansion of the optional practical training scheme for overseas graduates in the US many more students will be able to stay in the US.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United States. Please visit our USA page for more information:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Labour Party leaflet risks alienating immigrant voters in UK

A recent direct mail leaflet sent to voters has caused divisions within the Labour party, after it put forward a 'tough new approach on immigration'.



Leaflet and controversy over immigration

The four page leaflet 'Building an NHS with time to care' mostly covers Labour's plans for healthcare. However, one section has the title 'Labour's tough new approach to immigration'. In this section it is claimed that the Conservatives have lost control of who is coming into the country, and promises that Labour will hire 1,000 extra border staff to police immigration. The leaflet also says that 'People who rely on public services have a right to expect that staff, like nurses and care workers, can speak English.'

Labour officials have stated that the leaflets were posted out to Labour voters who the party thinks may be considering switching to UKIP. One official said that 'Our best argument with Labour-Ukip switchers is the NHS.'



Immigrant voters angry about leaflet

Concerns have been raised that the publication could alienate migrant voters. Labour MP David Lammy has said, 'We are a pro-immigration party and should stay that way, engaging in the debate on immigration but not on UKIP's terms.' He added, 'Forty per cent of London's nurses are immigrants... they tell me there is no way they could pass their three year qualification if they couldn't speak English.'



Four million immigrant voters

With the general election in May approaching, Labour are expected to continue their campaign of promoting the NHS; January 2015 was 'health month' in the campaign calendar. Rightly or wrongly it is also widely believed by the main political parties that being "anti- immigration" is a vote winner. Therefore, it seems likely that Labour and Conservative anti- immigration rhetoric will continue.

The next General Election will see a record number of immigrants eligible to vote; four million in total. Immigrant voters are more likely to vote Labour than Conservative. Therefore the Labour Party may have more to lose by being seen to be anti immigration than the Tories.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information: