University of Central Lancashire says Preston risks losing tens of millions of pounds from the city economy

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International students contribute £130m to our university and the local economy

Preston risks losing tens of millions of pounds from the city economy with proposed changes to visas for overseas students, a leading academic has warned.

The University of Central Lancashire's Vice-Chancellor, Prof Graham Baldwin, says losing international students would ultimately result in significant economic harm for the city.

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UCLan vice-chancellor Prof Graham BaldwinUCLan vice-chancellor Prof Graham Baldwin
UCLan vice-chancellor Prof Graham Baldwin

Prof Baldwin is one of a group of vice-chancellors from universities in the North who have joined forces to write a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The letter urges Mr Sunak to accept the conclusion of the Migration Advisory Committee which reviewed the Graduate Visa Route and recommended that this arrangement, by which international students can stay and work here for two years after graduation – is retained.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issues a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, after calling a General Election for July 4. PIC: Stefan Rousseau/PA WirePrime Minister Rishi Sunak issues a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, after calling a General Election for July 4. PIC: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issues a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, after calling a General Election for July 4. PIC: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The letter – sent before the general election was called – makes clear the value of international students, particularly to northern cities and towns where there is already structural economic inequality.

Prof Baldwin said: “The University of Central Lancashire is part of a group of northern universities urging the Prime Minister to accept the findings of the Migration Advisory Committee which has recommended that the current visa arrangement should be retained in its entirety.

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UCLan University in Preston is something of a celebrity, being of the UK's largest universities with a staff and student community approaching 42,000.UCLan University in Preston is something of a celebrity, being of the UK's largest universities with a staff and student community approaching 42,000.
UCLan University in Preston is something of a celebrity, being of the UK's largest universities with a staff and student community approaching 42,000.

“Our ability to attract ambitious and innovative students from around the world is a UK success story we should be celebrating.

"International students add more than £60bn to the UK’s economy. They start businesses and contribute billions of pounds in income tax, national insurance, and VAT annually.

“We have roughly 6,000 international students who contribute approximately £130m in total to our university and the local economy. This money is vital to northern cities such as Preston and should be protected at all costs.

“I firmly believe that removing the graduate route visa would make the UK a less attractive destination for international students. Losing them would ultimately result in significant economic harm for the North.”

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