Universities in the United Kingdom have called for a new post-study work visa that will allow international students to work there for up to two years after studies. According to these universities, this will not only help the students get work experience but will also help British employers hire talented people.
UK had this policy before the government scrapped it in 2012 severely impacting students from some countries including India. As a result, the number of students from India going to UK for higher studies declined by 26 percent between 2012-13 and 2016-17, according to a statement by UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency.
In the annual conference (4-5 Sept.) of Universities UK (UUK), an umbrella body of leading British Universities, university leaders said that by allowing students to work for two years after they complete their studies, United Kingdom can once again become attractive for foreign students. Since 2011, enrolments in British universities has been flat.
UUK took the Twitter to share the idea of new post-study visa, pitched in the conference, held in Sheffield, England.
UUK members underlined the need of easing the tightened student visa policy citing the relaxed student visa policies of Unites States, Canada, and Australia resulting in these countries becoming top choice among international students for higher education.
Prof. Dame Janet Beer, President of UUK and Vice Chancellor of University of Liverpool said that many international students carefully choose their educational destination only after assessing the possibility of working there after completing their studies.
Highlighting the importance of this proposed visa, he said, “This improved post-study visa would put us on a par with what is offered by countries such as the U.S., Canada, and Australia. It would send a more welcoming message to international students and signal that the UK is open to talented individuals from around the world.”
According to current rules to work in United Kingdom post study, students must find a job with a salary of at least £20,800 at an employer having Tier 2 sponsor license within four months of completion of the course or they must find sponsorship as an entrepreneur. However, Ph.D. students can stay for up to 12 months after completing their degree. The universities want these conditions to go as they are tough and are discouraging students from studying at British universities.
The universities want the government to bring new student visa that would give international students longer period to search for a Tier 2 eligible job. It will also allow higher education institutions registered as Tier 4 sponsors to sponsor their graduates to search for and gain work experience in the UK for up to two years, that too without any restriction on job level or salary.
Prof. Beer stressed that keeping the Brexit discussions in thoughts, UK should opt an ambitious immigration policy that helps boost our regional and global competitiveness.
“Allowing talented international students to work for a period post-study in the UK will help employers, large and small, to fill skills gaps. As well as enabling growth, our universities will become more internationally competitive and it will mean that UK students can develop a global mindset too,” said Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive at the Institute of Student Employers.