International students ‘boosted East Ham’s economy by £157.3m in 2015/16’

The Docklands campus of the University of East London. Picture: PA/Michael Crabtree

The Docklands campus of the University of East London. Picture: PA/Michael Crabtree - Credit: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

East Ham is one of the UK’s top beneficiaries of the international student economy, according to a Higher Education Policy Institute report.

International students in 2015/16 gave the constituency’s economy a £157.3m boost, placing East Ham as the area that experienced the ninth biggest economic impact from the group out of the 650 UK constituencies. The UK’s constituency average of £31.3m.

There are 1,880 students living in the constituency out of a total population of 153,676, with each student making an average £1,050 contribution to the economy.

Of those students 1,325 are from non-EU countries and pay significantly higher course fees.

The average international student in East Ham, which is home to University of East London’s Docklands Campus, makes a contribution to the economy that is nine times greater than the cost of housing them.

The UK average is ten times the cost of housing.

The think tank’s director Nick Hillman argues these figures mean there is a strong case for removing international students from overall immigration figures.

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This would mean numbers of foreign students temporarily residing in the country would not go down as the government looks to meet its immigration targets.

The government must look at this new evidence “with the seriousness it merits,” he said.

London alone experienced £4.6bn benefit from the move.

Sheffield Central is the constituency that benefited the most from international students, experiencing a £226.0m boost.

Theresa May has long championed the idea of including international students in immigration figures as both home secretary and now as prime minister.

However this report puts renewed pressure on Mrs May to change her stance on the issue.

Mr Hillman added: “Trying to persuade the Home Office that international students nearly always benefit the UK can feel like banging one’s head against a brick wall.”

Currently there are around 230,000 students arriving each year for UK university courses.

The majority are postgraduates and China is the most common country of origin.

Gavan Conlon, one of the report’s authors, said: “It is vital policy makers do not ignore these findings. Migration policy needs to be more rooted in evidence than it been over the past few years.”