Migration of higher education students from the North Africa Region to the United Kingdom

Samia S. O. M. Nour

#2020-016

This paper uses both the descriptive and comparative approaches to provide an overview of migration of higher education students from North Africa to the United Kingdom (UK). We fill the gap in the African literature and present a more comprehensive and recent analysis of migration of higher education students from the North Africa region to the UK using UNESCO recent secondary data on international students mobility in tertiary education. We provide an interesting comparative analysis of migration of higher education students from the North Africa region to the UK. A novel element in our analysis is that we examine migration of higher education students from the North Africa region to the UK from both national and regional perspectives; mainly we discuss migration of higher education students for each individual country in the North Africa region (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia) and then discuss the total for the entire North Africa region. Therefore, we provide an extremely valuable contribution to the increasing debate in the international literature concerning the increasing interaction between migration and increasing internationalisation of higher education. Our findings support the first hypothesis that from a national perspective, the pattern and size of migration of higher education students from the North Africa region to the UK increased substantially over the period (2000-2017/2018) but the distribution showed considerable variation across North African countries. Our results corroborate the second hypothesis that the increasing trend of migration of higher education students from the North Africa region to the UK is caused by several push-pull factors (e.g. economic, social, political, cultural and educational). Our results support the third hypothesis that migrations of higher education students from North Africa to the UK lead to mixed positive and negative impacts (e.g. transfer of knowledge, brain gain and skill acquisition for returned migrant students, but weak capacity to retain talents and brain drain for non-returned migrant students). Our findings corroborate the fourth hypothesis that skills of migrant higher education students from the North Africa region can be better mobilised in their countries of origin by addressing the push-pull factors that determine migration of skills from the North Africa region.

Keywords: Migration, higher education students, International student mobility, Internationalisation of higher education, Africa, North Africa region, the United Kingdom.

JEL classification: J60, J61, I23, I25

  


UNU-MERIT