Paying the Price



With UK Home Secretary James Cleverly announcing the new threshold for overseas workers, UK universities are likely to find themselves massively affected by it. The minimum salary that foreign workers will need to earn in order to remain in the UK has risen from £26,000 to £38,700; this will be effective as of spring 2024. International students fear that, after graduation, they will have to leave the country as it is improbable that they will find a career straight away that reaches this salary.


1. Financial Dynamics: The Tuition Conundrum

International students often pay higher tuition fees compared to their domestic counterparts. As foreign graduates depart, universities may face a financial challenge due to the loss of revenue generated from these tuition fees. This could potentially impact the budgetary considerations of institutions that heavily rely on income from international students.

2. The Alumni Network: A Global Connection

The departure of foreign graduates affects the composition of university alumni networks. These networks are not only valuable for the universities but also for the graduates themselves. If a significant portion of international graduates leaves the UK, maintaining and leveraging this global alumni network for mentorship, collaboration, and fundraising might become more challenging.

3. Research and Innovation: A Talent Drain?

Universities benefit from the diverse perspectives and talents of their international students, who often engage in research activities. The departure of foreign graduates may result in a loss of skilled individuals contributing to research projects, potentially impacting the innovative and collaborative spirit that characterizes academic environments.


Above: Chinese students have taken to social media to express their concern and anger at the new minimum salary policy.


4. Cultural Diversity: The Fabric of Campus Life

The vibrant cultural diversity on university campuses contributes significantly to the overall student experience. If foreign graduates leave in large numbers, there could be a noticeable shift in the cultural dynamics of these institutions, affecting not only student life but also the richness of academic discourse.

5. Employment Opportunities and Industry Impact

Some international graduates choose to stay in the UK for employment, contributing to the local workforce. The departure of foreign graduates may impact the talent pool available to local industries, potentially affecting sectors that benefit from a diverse and skilled labour force.

6. Global Reputation: A Balancing Act

The presence of international graduates contributes to the global reputation of UK universities. A decline in the number of foreign graduates could impact the institutions’ standings in international rankings, influencing perceptions of their global competitiveness and attractiveness.


What can we do to help? Well, with our ability to monitor reactions to news such as this on Chinese social media, we can support UK universities by giving them the chance to respond to their international students appropriately.

Don’t pay the price for the UK government’s mistakes. Listen to the students’ voices.

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