APPG for International Students welcomes Jo Johnson MP, Minister for Universities to its first meeting

Co-Chairs of the APPG for International Students Paul Blomfield MP and Lord Bilimoria welcomed Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation to the first meeting of the APPG since it was formed in May 2016. APPG members and supporters welcomed the Government’s commitment to increasing international student numbers in the UK through the Education is GREAT Campaign but remain concerned that a lack of coordination between government departments means negative messages about the UK are still being sent to students.

The UK is a world leader in international education, attracting over 500,000 international students into schools, colleges and universities, and over 580,000 students to learn English, each year. The Prime Minister’s office and the British Council have each committed £3 million to the Education is GREAT Campaign and the Study UK: Discover You digital platform.

In his address to the APPG Jo Johnson repeated government assertions that there is no cap on international student numbers and no intention of a cap. He noted his recent trip to India with the Prime Minister and APPG Co-Chair Lord Bilimoria, and said the government needs to address why there have been declines in specific markets. In particular he mentioned the need to work with Indian officials to have the UK one-year Masters recognised as a postgraduate qualification.

Lord Bilimoria, Co-Chair of the APPG for International Students said: “Being international is a tremendous asset to UK universities, colleges and schools in every respect, be it our academic staff from around the world, be it our international students, or be it our international academic research partnerships.”

“For the government to continue to commit to reducing annual net migration to the tends of thousands and to keeping international students in those net migration figures is very wrong, and send out completely the wrong message to the world.”

Co-Chair Paul Blomfield MP has welcomed many international students in his Sheffield Constituency.

“We need to send a clear message that the UK remains a globally facing country and warmly welcomes students from around the world.

In a time of change for the UK, and with the EU referendum result and the immigration debate taking centre stage, we need to reassure potential international students from around the world that they are welcome in the UK. This means taking students out of net migration targets, reviewing the policies that discourage applications and set a policy objective of increasing recruitment across the whole sector.”

The APPG for International Students will release a note of the meeting on our website

To contact the APPG for International Students please email