Brexit – is it a positive or a negative for international recruitment?

We asked new international students about Brexit and its impact on their views regarding aspects of UK higher education. When asking them, these students had just started their course in the UK in Autumn 2016 and 2017 respectively. The picture they paint us is somewhat confusing, to say the least, and goes against many of the rhetoric that we can hear from media.

The impact of Brexit on perceptions of the overall attractiveness of the UK as a place to studyThe new cohort starting in 2017 seems more hopeful than the one the year before. This is consistent across EU and non-EU (Rest of World) nationals. The share of new internationals students reporting a positive impact of Brexit on their perceptions of the overall attractiveness of the UK as a place to study has gone up by 4% points among EU/EEA nationals and by 5% points among RoW nationals. In line with this, the share of those reporting a negative impact of Brexit on the same aspect has gone down by 7% point among EU/EEA nationals and by 3% points among RoW nationals.

It is very hard to tell whether this is a mere coincidence, or whether the UK is attracting more international students who see the positives of Brexit.

We are very curious about this year’s results to see whether the trend keeps going in the same direction or not.

We are now in the process of conducting the fifth wave of our research among new international students. If you are interested in finding out more about the current or previous research, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If your institution intends to take part in the research, please read the call for participation.