Amid a series of recent changes to the Immigration Rules, the UK government has decided to allow foreign students graduating in the UK, to remain in the country for another two years post-graduation, reports Studying-in-UK.org.
The 2-year post-study work visa will be open to the nationals of all countries, who have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate level or above at an approved UK Higher Education Provider. It will permit eligible persons to work or look for work in the UK.
The new route is expected to launch for the 2020/21 intake of students to university. The move has been undertaken in a bid to recruit and retain global talents in science, technology and research and other world-leading work.
According to the Secretary of Home Office Priti Patel the new graduate route shows UK’s global outlook and ensures that the UK will continue to attract the best and brightest.
“The new Graduate Route will mean talented international students, whether in science and maths or technology and engineering, can study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they go on to build successful careers,” she said.
Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK believes that the new policy will help the UK become a first choice study destination for international students, asserting that a wide range of employers will have access to talented graduates at the same time
“This is very positive news. Evidence shows that international students bring significant positive social outcomes to the UK as well as £26 billion in economic contributions, but for too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the UK has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students,” he says.
However, the new move has not pleased everybody. Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK estimates that the move is unwise, and may be used as a backdoor for overseas students to get employed in the UK.
“Our universities are attracting a record number of overseas students so there is no need to devalue a study visa by turning it into a backdoor route for working here,” he estimates.
The United Kingdom is home to world’s second largest population of international students, with about 50% less foreign students than the United States.
According to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) in the 2017-18 academic year there were 468,385 foreign students registered at the UK universities. While 142,715 of them were non-UK EU students, the rest were students from overseas.