18 April 2017

Principal welcomes poll on attitudes to international students

Sir Ian Diamond has welcomed a new poll that shows Scots are overwhelmingly in favour of international students staying in the UK to work after they graduate.

The ComRes poll1, commissioned by Universities UK, showed that 83% of Scots agreed that when international students graduate from universities, it is better if they use their skills in the UK for a period of time to contribute to the economy, rather than returning to their home country.

Scotland is home to 29,210 international students2 across its 19 higher education institutes.  At the University of Aberdeen, the figure is 2279, a significant proportion of the University’s overall student population. 

The poll also revealed that:

• 71% of Scots think that international students have a positive impact on the local economies of the town and cities they study in

• 67% believe that the economic contribution made by international students helps create jobs, whilst 70% believe that international students have a valuable social and cultural impact on the town and cities they live in

• 62% believe that Scottish students benefit culturally and intellectually from having international students at their universities

We know that our universities have always been welcoming to international students, and this poll highlights the positive impact they make in towns and cities across Scotland" Sir Ian Diamond

Responding to the poll, Sir Ian said: “We know that our universities have always been welcoming to international students, and this poll highlights the positive impact they make in towns and cities across Scotland.

“Not only do they make a huge contribution to our universities and the wider Scottish economy, but they also enhance the university experience of our home-based students.

“Like many others across Scotland, I continue to back the return of the post-study work visa to allow international students the opportunity to work here for two years after they graduate.

“As this poll makes clear, their positive contribution has real benefits for our economy and to the cultural and social life of our country.”

1ComRes surveyed 4,043 British adults between 22 and 26 March 2017. The number of Scots interviewed was 358.

2 There are 29,210 international students (from outwith the EU) currently studying in Scotland’s universities (source: HESA, 2014/15)


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