LONDON, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The British government on Thursday launched its biggest ever probe into the social and economic impact in Britain of international students.
The British interior minister, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to carry out the detailed study. The report is due in a year's time.
The move came at a time of intense debate about the role of foreign students in Britain.
The committee will look at the impact of both the European Union (EU) and non-EU students on the British labor market while they are residents in the island country.
Alongside the new study, Britain's first publication of exit checks data has shown the number of students who overstay in Britain after their visas have expired is low.
A spokesman for the British Home Office said, "The government has been clear that it is committed to keeping the doors open to genuine students, while at the same time taking action to crack down on immigration abuse from poor quality institutions that were damaging the UK's reputation as a provider of world-leading education."
The MAC will consider the impact of tuition fees and other spending by international students on the national, regional, and local economy and on the education sector in Britain.
The study will also show the role of the students in contributing to local economic growth and the impact their recruitment has on the provision and quality of education provided to domestic students
Rudd said, "There is no limit to the number of genuine international students who can come to the UK to study and the fact that we remain the second most popular global destination for those seeking higher education is something to be proud of."
A government report describes Britain as the second most popular destination for international students, with four British universities in the world's top 10, 16 in the top 100 and international student satisfaction in Britain at 91 percent for undergraduates.
Last year, Britain saw an increase of six percent in visa applications for Russell Group universities, a group formed in 1994 by 17 research universities, while visa applications sponsored by universities are 17 percent higher than they were in 2010.
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said, "We have always been clear that our commitment to reducing net migration to sustainable levels does not detract from our determination to attract international students from around the world."
Meanwhile, data published Thursday shows Britain does not have a major problem with foreign students abusing the immigration system by remaining in the country illegally.
Previous estimates showed a large gap between arrivals and departures of foreign nationals who come to Britain to study.
"There is no evidence of a major issue of non-EU students overstaying their entitlement to stay," the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a new report.