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UK: APPG for International Students launched

An All-Parliamentary Party Group for International Students has been formed in the UK, in order to highlight the impact and contribution foreign students make to the country.

Lord Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, will co-chair the APPG with Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central. Photo: Richter Frank-Jurgen

Study UK and Exporting Education UK are also supporting and working with the group

The group, which held its inaugural meeting this week in parliament, is formed of members from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

It will aim to promote the value of international students to both the labour market and the UK economy, encourage governments overseas to send international students to the UK, and publicise the value of international students to the UK’s soft power.

“We should not be content with flat-lining figures or small increases in international student numbers”

The group will also endeavour to highlight regulation changes that could harm the international education sector, as well as develop policies to enhance incoming students’ experience and extend the country’s share of the market.

The APPG will be co-chaired by Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central and Cobra Beer founder, Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea.

“An overwhelming majority of the British people appreciate the importance of international students in this country,” said Lord Bilimoria, who is also president of UKCISA.

“There is great benefit to building bridges between Britain and international students from around the world. Their experience in the UK will support Britain’s soft power and will encourage others to share in the UK’s international education.”

Study UK and Exporting Education UK are also supporting and working with the group.

Joy Elliott-Bowman, policy and public affairs manager at Study UK, told The PIE News that the group is very “output-focused”.

“It seems that they want to have clear recommendations, they want to make sure that they’re making a broad, focused output,” she said, adding: “They’re looking to actually spearhead some public campaigns on UK HE, and across the whole sector.”

In its first meeting this week, the APPG also looked beyond the UK to international efforts made by other countries to support international students.

Co-chair, Paul Blomfield, said it is important to “recognise the contributions of international students” both in the country’s education sector and wider society.

“International students add to the vitality of our schools, colleges, universities and communities,” he said. “We should not be content with flat-lining figures or small increases in international student numbers but should work to show international students they are welcome across the UK.”

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