Reintroduction of UK post study work visa for international students welcomed

While details around implementation of this new policy are not clear yet, enrolments from the 2020-21 academic year are expected to benefit from the changes.

UK to extend work visas for foreign students by 2 yrs
In a move that could be the game changer for Indian students making overseas study decisions, the UK government announced on Wednesday that it was reinstating the two-year post study visa for foreign students. This change in immigration policy rolls back the scrapping of the post study work visa by then home secretary Theresa May in 2012; a move that has been seen as the main reason for the drop in the number of Indian students going to study in the UK and the country losing out its competitive edge as an international market for higher education.

Welcoming the announcement on the return of the post study work visas which will have no cap on numbers and allow graduates to apply for jobs regardless of their skills or the subject they studied, Sanam Arora, founder and chairperson of the London-based National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK (NISAU) said that Indian students would benefit the most from this policy.

“The most impacted were Indian students, who repeatedly told us that they needed this post study work visa for a number of reasons, including fundamentally the ability to gain global work experience and the chance to work for a few years to pay off some of the high loans they had taken to study in the UK. As one of the most important factors for Indian students we therefore 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,” Arora said.

While details around implementation of this new policy are not clear yet, enrolments from the 2020-21 academic year are expected to benefit from the changes.

British-Indian entrepreneur, member of UK parliament and founding chairman of the UK Council for International Students, Karan Bilimoria has championed the reintroduction of the post study work visa for several years. Others such as former UK MP Jo Johnson and MPs Paul Blomfield and Virendra Sharma have also strongly spoken in its favour.

In its announcement on the post study visa, the government said that it was looking at attracting graduates in disciplines such as maths, engineering and technology to study in the UK.

Gavin Williamson, the UK education secretary, said: “The important contribution international students make to our country and universities is both cultural and economic. Their presence benefits Britain, which is why we’ve increased the period of time these students can remain in the UK after their studies.

Commenting on the announcement, Vivienne Stern, director, Universities UK International, said: “I am delighted by today’s announcement. Although 82% of our Indian graduates are satisfied with their careers wherever they are working, we know that they value the opportunity to spend some time in the UK working after their degree. This visa will make it significantly easier for them to do that.”
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