A recent study by London Economics has shown that Britain benefits to the tune of £25bn a year from overseas students; London by £4.6bn and Twickenham - which hosts St Mary’s University - by an estimated £43 million, equivalent to £382 per resident.
Vince Cable MP has championed the argument for welcoming overseas students despite the fact they are counted as “immigrants” in the official statistics:
“I have spent five years as Secretary of State trying - and largely succeeding - in stopping Theresa May, as Home Secretary, blocking overseas students. These students contribute to the local and national economy and help subsidise UK students. Universities are better off and far better places for being diverse and international. I want to see students taken out of the official immigration numbers since they come here for three years - usually - and then go home.”
— from a Vince Cable MP press release - 18 January 2018