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Bristol’s overseas student influx will continue - regardless of Brexit

Major university investment projects and continued growth in student accommodation are evidence that trend will continue, says Colliers International.

Bristol will continue to act as a magnet for overseas students regardless of the outcome of Brexit, according to a leading business figure in the city. Tim Davies, head of the South West and Wales at global real estate advisor Colliers International, says that while the intake of overseas students from the European Union had fallen in recent years, any shortfall was offset by the continuing increase in those from outside the EU. 

Mr. Davies says ongoing investment projects by both of Bristol’s universities, alongside the continuing boom in the provision of new student accommodation, mean that the city will continue to attract large numbers of overseas students, who make up around 20 per cent of the total. 

“The ‘Brexit effect’ has already been felt by many universities, and in 2018 the intake of students in the UK from the EU only grew by 1 per cent,” says Tim Davies. 

“However, the influx of international students from outside the EU grew in 2018 by 8 per cent, facilitated in part by the weakening of the pound. This is evidenced by the increasing number of international students from China, who make up the largest proportion of international students in Bristol.  
With students currently comprising 10 per cent of Bristol’s residential market, and with the universities only providing accommodation for 10 per cent of their students, it’s easy to see why investment in purpose-built student accommodation has increased significantly in recent years. 

“It is hardly surprising that most of the major developments in the city at the moment are geared towards student accommodation.”

Tim Davies says two multi-million pound university investment projects provide further evidence of Bristol’s continuing appeal to overseas students.

The University of Bristol has invested £300 million in the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus – as well as investing £1 million in scholarships to attract international students - and UWE has invested £16 million in its ‘Future Space’ enterprise zone.  

“Bristol is one of the UK’s leading university cities and it is not heavily dependent on international students from within the EU.  

“While the outcome of Brexit remains unclear, Bristol’s reputation for innovation and the clear investment that our universities are making in their respective campuses mean that the city will continue to attract overseas students in large numbers.”