Employment rates among international students in England and Wales are highest for people from eastern Europe, with more than half of people from some countries doing jobs alongside their studies, figures suggest.

Rates are highest for students born in Romania, with nearly three-quarters (73.9%) in employment, along with nearly two-thirds of students born in Bulgaria (62.3%).

The findings are among the latest data to be released from the census, which took place on March 21 2021.

Some 373,600 non-UK-born international students were in England and Wales at the time of the census, a third (32.6%) of whom were also in jobs.

A “significantly higher proportion” of EU-born international students had jobs (47.1%) than those born outside the EU (24.6%), according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

High employment rates among people born in eastern Europe helped contribute to the difference in these totals.

Along with Romania and Bulgaria, more than half of international students born in Poland (56.7%), Lithuania (55.9%) and Latvia (53.7%) said they were in employment on the day of the census.

Romania was the third most common country of birth for international students in England and Wales, accounting for nearly one in 10 of all of those recorded in the census, behind India and China (both around one in nine).

(PA Graphics)

Employment rates for students from India and China were much lower than the rate for Romania, however, at 33.5% and 4.8% respectively.

Many EU-born international students will have arrived before the end of free movement, so the census figures do not represent the status of EU students under the post-Brexit immigration system, the ONS said.

The data also shows a third (33.9%) of the international student population of England and Wales was in London at the time of the census – the equivalent of 127,000 people.

South-east England and the West Midlands were the regions with the highest populations of international students outside London, with 12% and 9.4% of the total respectively.

After India, China and Romania, the most common countries of birth for international students were Nigeria, Poland, Italy and the US.

The most common type of work was in the wholesale and retail trade, including the repair of motor vehicles, which accounted for 18.5% of international students in employment.

This was followed by health and social work (16.8%), accommodation and food services (13%) and education (12%).

There were notable differences between EU-born and non-EU-born students, with non-EU students in employment twice as likely to work in health and social care than EU students.

The census classified international students as people who were born outside the UK and did not have a UK passport, who were aged 17 or over on their most recent arrival in the UK and 18 or over on the day of the census and who were in full-time education.