Certus have carried out research (Latvian-language link) concerning foreign students in Latvian universities. There are currently around 6,300 foreign students studying in Latvia.
Auers said that the number may grow up to 17,000-18,000.
The research also included a survey of 848 foreign students, which view Rīga as a favorable place to study.
"They're very satisfied with life in Riga and the quality of studies," said Auers. According to him, particularly satisfied are the students at the Riga Stradiņš University.
The research says that foreign students spend €84.5m annually via study payments and taxes, as well as a further €85.5m indirectly (through rent payments, etc.), which amounts to around €170m.
Furthermore, higher education exports have provided locals with a total 1,703 jobs.
The research also includes a number of policy proposals, which include tasking the Economics Ministry with promoting higher education exports, making investments in the Riga campus on the left bank of Daugava River, as well as making applications and document checks easier for foreign students.