INTERNATIONAL students pump more than £120 million into the Sheffield economy every year, according to a new report.
Research into the benefits international students bring to the economy was carried out by the University of Sheffield in the first study of its kind.
Accommodation providers, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and shops all benefit thanks to students from both the city’s universities and Sheffield College.
The benefits were found continue after students graduate, with 8.9 per cent staying on in Yorkshire and Humberside to work and 10.7 per cent remaining in the UK.
The study was unveiled at the House of Commons by Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield.
It follows concerns from the university that international students were being discouraged from studying in the UK because the country is seen as less welcoming following changes to visa rules.
He said: “We’re proud of the extensive contribution our international students make to both the university and the city, boosting the city’s economy by a net figure of £120 million, something that will be reflected in other towns and cities nationally.
“I’d like to thank our international students for this important contribution and show the world how much we value it.”
Prof Burnett said he hoped the research would influence changes in policy to make sure international students weren’t deterred from applying to UK universities.
Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield central, who has campaigned in Parliament on the issue said: “We know the important contribution international students make to the diversity of our cities and to the research and innovation of our universities.
“In university towns and cities across the UK, tens of thousands of jobs depend on international students.
“We need to send a clear message that international students are welcome in the UK. But that needs more than words. If we are to be seen as serious, we need a change in policy.”
Dr Philip Harvey, Registrar and Secretary of the University of Sheffield, said: “By providing our students with an education, training and a truly memorable student experience, we are doing something that will be cherished and remembered throughout their lives, wherever they are in the world, continually placing Sheffield on the global map.”