Universities in United Kingdom want their government to make changes to the visa system, in order to permit foreign students to work for up to two years in the country, after their graduation. The main reason behind such a request, is to make the UK a more attractive destination for international students and graduates, thus enabling the country to compete with other popular destinations as the US and Canada.
UK university leaders want Home Office to reintroduce the post-study work visa for non-EU students, which was scrapped in 2012.
The Universities UK believe that the tightening of after-graduation work possibilities for foreign students in UK has affected the number of applications from foreign students.
According to them, while the US, Australia and Canada give the chance to overseas students to work in their country for at least one year post-graduation, UK does not give that opportunity to them anymore. Through a press release published in the official website of Universities UK, such statements are backed by statistics.
Figures show that since 2011 Australia saw an increase of 45% of students enrolled at its universities. The country permits foreign students to remain and work for four more years, after their graduation. Throughout the same period, there were 57% more students than previously enrolled in Canada, and 40% in the US.
On the other hand, UK, despite of still being the second favorite study destination for bright young minds around the world after the US, saw an increase of only 3%. If the trends keep going like this, Australia may kick off Britain from the second position in this list.
President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, Professor Dame Janet Beer, claims that the ability to work in a skilled job even for a limited period after graduation is an important factor for foreign students, when deciding where to study.
“We are proposing a new graduate visa that would make the UK more attractive to students and would allow a wider range of employers, in all parts of the UK, to benefit from access to talented graduates from around the world,” Beer says. She also adds that such a visa would put the UK on a par with what is offered by countries as the US, Canada and Australia.
“It would send a more welcoming message to international students and signal that the UK is open to talented individuals from around the world. As Brexit discussions continue, the UK needs an ambitious immigration policy that helps boost our regional and global competitiveness,” she claims.
The Chief Executive at the Institute of Student Employers Stephen Isherwood thinks that to permit international students to remain in the UK after their graduation, means to help employers of small and large companies, to fill any skills gap that UK nationals cannot.
“Allowing talented international students to work for a period post-study in the UK will help… enabling growth, our universities will become more internationally competitive and it will mean that UK students can develop a global mindset too,” Isherwood claims.
Universities UK made such call while the leaders of universities in the United Kingdom were due to meet for the start of the Universities UK annual conference, in Sheffield on September 4, 2018.