Foreign graduates granted longer visas
The Prime Minister has performed a policy about-turn on post-study visas that will allow foreign students to stay in the UK for two years after graduating. University chiefs welcomed the move, to take effect from 2021, that reverses rules introduced by Theresa May as home secretary meaning international students are only permitted to remain in the UK for up to four months after completing their studies.
FOREIGN students will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduating, in a policy about-turn on poststudy visas.
International students were only permitted to remain in the UK for up to four months after completing their studies under rules that were introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary.
The new strategy, announced by the Prime Minister, is aimed at boosting the appeal of Britain as a university destination for overseas students.
From 2021, international students who enrol on undergraduate, postgraduate or PHD courses in the UK will be able to stay in the country for two years after they graduate.
Under European Union laws, tuition fees for British and EU students are capped at £9,250 per year, but there is no limit on what universities can charge international students.
Recruiting international students has become an important revenue stream for universities, with many investing large amounts of money in marketing themselves overseas as well as paying agents to drum up business in target countries.
University chiefs welcomed the move. Alistair Jarvis, the chief executive of Universities UK, said: “For too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the UK has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students. We strongly welcome this policy change, which will put us back where we belong as a first choice study destination.”
Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said the move was an “unwise and retrograde step”.
He said it was likely to lead to foreign graduates “staying on to stack shelves, as happened before”, adding: “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.”
Boris Johnson’s announcement is a reversal of the reforms introduced by the Home Office in 2012, when Mrs May scrapped the post-study work visa which had allowed non-eu students to stay in the UK and work for up to two years after graduation.
There are 460,000 foreign university students in the UK, generating £20billion per year through education exports, which includes income from international students, English language training and education technology solutions being sold worldwide.
A report published this year found that foreign students who study at university in the UK go on to earn up to 50 per cent more than their British classmates. Maths graduates from the UK earn an average of £33,100 five years after they complete their degree, while their peers from outside of Europe earn £48,600, the Higher Education Policy Institute study found.
Meanwhile, economics graduates earn an average of £37,900 after five years if they are from Britain compared with £45,700 if they are from overseas.
In both subjects, students from other EU countries earn more than their British classmates but less than those from outside the EU.