Tony Blair wants to inject pound;700 million into the economy via a huge expansion of fee-paying overseas students to UK universities and colleges.
The Prime Minister has told the Department for Education and Employment to develop a strategy to enable the UK to be the first choice for quality among international students.
His "bold objectives" include a 100 per cent increase in non-European Union students enrolling in colleges by 2005. This is 25,000 additional students worth pound;200m a year in export earnings. Mr Blair also wants 50,000 more undergraduates, worth pound;500m a year.
In the four years up to 199798 international enrolments in UK higher education had risen by 29 per cent. But knock-on effects of the economic crisis in Asia had slowed that growth.
The DFEE is now to develop "a world-class UK Education Brand". Markets will be identified and there will be extensive publicity campaigns in those countries.