Research Finds 71% of International Students Plan to Stay & Work in UK After Graduation



New research by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Kaplan International Pathways, has revealed that 71 percent of international students plan to work in the United Kingdom after finishing studies.

However, the report also shows that 39 percent of international students have faced obstacles to work experiences during their studies in the UK. Group participants in the study said that competition has been high in getting placements while the COVID-19 pandemic worsened it.

77 percent of students said that they are worried if they will be able to support themselves after graduation, reports.

Other key findings include:

  • 82 percent of international students believe that career support is “important” or “very important” when choosing a university.
  • 92 percent think that employability skills are “important” or “very important” while choosing their university.
  • 52 percent of international students claim their university is supporting their career needs.
  • 75 percent of students who think that employability skills are connected to their course are happy with their university.
  • 43 percent believe employability skills are not linked to their course.

“Students who feel their courses have not covered employability skills are twice as likely to say that, in hindsight, they would pick a different institution to do the same course (18% versus 8%) and three times as likely to say they would go to a different institution to do a different course (12% versus 4%),” the report notes.

It further points out that 42 percent of students agree that their university careers service should offer support to them in their home countries compared to another 42 percent disagreeing with the statement.

Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, Nick Hillman, said that the UK should not take for granted the demand among international students wishing to study at the country’s universities because the number of EU students in the UK has halved due to Brexit, adding that there is also a “fierce competition” because other countries also want to recruit more international students

“The primary reason most students attend higher education is to secure a rewarding career afterwards. So the quality of the careers and employability support is critical in attracting more students. Yet some international students feel they are paying more but getting less because some support is seemingly targeted more at home students,” Hillman added.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Kaplan International Pathways, Linda Cowan, said that while competing globally to attract international students, the UK should make sure it is providing them the necessary support for future careers, in the UK or in their home country.