A rising number of foreign students who return home after studying science, maths and engineering at British universities could hit Britain's manufacturing economy with a brain-drain, a report has warned.
While Britain is producing more engineers due to the expansion in further education, international students make up a large proportion - with the risk that they will take their expertise home with them, the Daily Mail reported.
Latest statistics show that British universities produced 6,500 more engineers in 2007 in comparison to a decade ago.
But an analysis by the think-tank Civitas showed that the number of international students studying science, technology, engineering and maths courses had increased by 12,308 -- meaning a fall in British graduates of 5,769.
The report claims the effect of these foreign graduates returning home after finishing university education may have "a serious and negative effect upon the British economy, while other countries benefit".
"If we want manufacturing in Britain to grow, the lack of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates needs to be urgently addressed," said Stephen Clarke, the study's author.