UK Post-Study Work Visa – London, September 13, 2019 – UK has announced the reinstatement of the 2-year post-study work visa for international students in a move that will significantly influence thousands of Indian students wishing to study abroad.
The reintroduction of this immigration rule will again allow Indian graduates to stay in the UK for two years post their studies and work after graduating from any UK universities. According to the current rule, overseas students studying bachelor’s and master’s degrees in any subject can stay and work in the UK for only 4 months.
Also, as per the Department for Education, UK, there will be no limit on the number of foreign students who can study in the UK. In order to attract more students, the post-study leave period will be increased to 6 months for UG and PG students and 1 year for doctoral students.
The 2-year post-study visa was scrapped by the then UK home minister, Theresa May in 2012 leading to the drop in the number of Indian students going to study in the UK. This move had resulted in the UK losing its competitive edge as an international market for higher education.
Subsequently, the number of Indian students coming to UK for studies had fallen to a record low of 15,388 in the year 2017-2018 from its peak of 51,218 in 2010 – 2011.
Tom Birtwistle, Director North, British Council India hailed the decision of the UK government and said that it is a win-win situation for both the international students and UK institutions. “The new graduate immigration route supports the ambitions of Indian students, who, as we know, consider post-study work option as an important factor when making their choice of studying abroad,” he said, adding, “UK university campuses and classrooms are enriched by the presence of Indian students; the new visa policy giving students the chance to develop their careers in an international marketplace helps reconfirm the UK’s position as a world-leading destination for Indian students.”
The founder and chairperson of the London-based National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK (NISAU), Sanam Arora, welcomed the announcement of the return of the post-study work visa. She said, “We were running the post-study work visa campaign for the last 5+ years and this marks the conclusion of long and hard battle that has found its due justice.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also praised the policy change in post-study work visa. He said, “The important contribution international students make to our country and universities is both cultural and economic. Their presence benefits Britain. Our universities thrive on being open global institutions.”
As per the British media reports, the announcement of reintroduction of two-year post-study work visa is part of a package of British government measures to boost the number of foreign students after Brexit.
UK Post-Study Work Visa – Key Highlights
- The graduate route will provide an opportunity for international students who have been awarded their degree to stay and work in the UK at any skill level for two years. Graduates will also be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.
- The graduate immigration route will be open to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at an institution with a track record of compliance with the Home Office’s immigration rules. Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work or look for work, in the UK for a maximum period of two years.
- It is expected that students entering the UK in the 2020-21 academic year intake will be eligible for this route. This route was announced in September 2019 to ensure that universities, stakeholders and customers preparing for the next academic year were aware of this change and could feature this as part of their plans.
- The visa will be two years long and would be a separate visa, requiring a new application (including payment of a visa fee) and payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge. The exact visa fee will be set out in due course.
- The route is non-extendable and does not count towards settlement. However, graduates who find an appropriate job and meet the requirements will be able to switch into skilled work, which is a route to settlement.
- Those who graduate and whose leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible for it. However, most of these students will have had no expectation of benefitting from such a route when they applied to study in the UK.