The Government is proposing to introduce a charge for all non-EEA international students coming to the UK to use the NHS. NUS believes that the introduction of healthcare charges of up to £200 per person per year of study is discriminatory, counter-intuitive and impractical. In particular, for postgraduate research students with families this could mean an additional visa fee of £3000 before even stepping foot into the UK.
According to the consultations, the Government spent £33 million treating foreign nationals in 2011, £21 million of which were recovered. This represents a net cost of £12 million. This represents 0.01% of the NHS’ annual budget of £106 billion. However, international students contribute a net benefit to the UK far greater- BIS estimated that international students contribute £7.9 billion to the UK economy each year.
Oxford Economics calculated that even when consumption including healthcare is taken into consideration that international students in Sheffield alone provided a net benefit to the UK of £136.8 million. According to HEFCE, fee income from non-EU students in English Higher Education alone was over £2.5 billion in 2010. Furthermore, international students contribute to the NHS through taxation and from visa fees prior to entering the UK. If these changes dissuade international students from coming to the UK- it is likely they will result in a loss of income and annul any potential savings. International students contribute above and beyond any cost to the NHS or any cost to any public service.
We think this gives a message that international students are not welcome in the UK and will mean more students will choose to study elsewhere where Government policies and rhetoric increasingly favour international students.
Please sign this petition and show your support for our International students.