Post-study work visa back in the U.K.
From next year, international students in the United Kingdom — including Indians — will be able to stay on after graduation for a period of two years to work or look for work using a new post-study work visa.
Announcing the new graduate immigration route on Wednesday, the British government said the move would help to attract “the best and the brightest” to the U.K. and expand opportunities for international students to build successful careers within the country. Graduates may apply without leaving the U.K.
It could also help to increase the number of Indian students heading to the U.K., which dropped drastically after a similar visa was withdrawn in 2012.
The new visa is open to international students who hold valid student visas and have successfully completed a course at undergraduate level or above at a British institution of higher education which has a track record of compliance with the UK Home Office’s immigration rules.
Students entering the UK in the 2020-21 academic year intake are expected to be eligible, said a spokesperson from the UK High Commission in Delhi, adding that students who have entered the UK earlier but still hold a valid student visa at the beginning of the next academic year are also likely to be eligible for the new route.
The visa will require a new application including payment of a new visa fee, the amount of which is yet to be determined. The visa is not extendable beyond a two-year period, and time spent in the UK on this visa will not count towards settlement. Visa-holders will be allowed to work at any skill level. Once they find a suitable job, they will be able to switch to a skilled work visa if they meet requirements.
Almost 22,000 Indian students got a UK visa in the year ending June 2019, a 42% increase from the 15,000 students who did so last year.
However, this still lags far behind the highs of 2010-11, when 39,090 Indians were granted student visas to the UK.
In 2012, then Home Secretary Theresa May scrapped the post-study work visa, claiming it was being abused by bogus colleges exploiting international students, including those from India. “Unlike the route which closed in 2012, this new route will also include safeguards to ensure only genuine, credible students are eligible,” said a statement from the High Commission.