Many Bangladeshi students, who come to the UK for higher education, tend to stay behind at the end of their degree, latest data released by UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday indicate.
Between April 2016 and April 2017, 1,050 Bangladeshi students extended their leave to remain in Britain after the expiry of their student visas with 948 choosing to leave before the expiry of their student visas.
“Thai, Chinese, Indian and North American (US) students were more likely to depart before their study visas or extensions expired, whereas Russian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Saudi Arabian students were more likely to extend their leave to remain,” the ONS noted.
The UK is the second most popular destination for international students, with four of its universities ranking among the world's top 10.
The latest data coincide with results of a new exit-check system introduced in April 2015 to build a more complete picture of whether those who entered the UK left when they were supposed to.
It indicates that figures of students over-staying may have been inflated in the past and has prompted Home Secretary Amber Rudd to commission a new assessment of the impact of international students on the UK economy.
Rudd has directed the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine the impact both EU and non-EU students have on the labour market and economy whilst in the UK.
In a statement, she said: “There is no limit to the number of genuine international students who can come to the UK to study and the fact that we remain the second most popular global destination for those seeking higher education is something to be proud of.
“We understand how important students from around the world are to our higher education sector, which is a key export for our country, and that’s why we want to have a robust and independent evidence base of their value and the impact they have.”
The move has been widely welcomed by universities and other agencies involved in attracting more overseas students to UK’s shores.
"This is an opportunity to build on the considerable evidence that shows that international students have a very positive impact on the UK economy and local communities," said Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK.
It is also hoped that the latest MAC assessment, due to report by September next year, will add pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to remove student figures from the overall annual migration data.
MAC has been asked to examine the impact of tuition fees and other spending by international students on the local and national economy, as well as the role students play in contributing to economic growth and the quality of education for domestic students.