For­eign grad­u­ates granted longer visas

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Camilla Turner

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.

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