Steps in overseas direction

September 26, 2013

When the government originally consulted stakeholders, including universities and public authorities, on the removal of the post-study work route for international students, just 6 per cent of respondents argued that the tier-one path should be closed (“Let the right ones stay for payday”, News, 19 September). Yet the decision was made to shut the scheme anyway.

Part of the attraction for overseas students in coming to the UK was the fact that the two-year post-study work visa allowed them time to apply for positions and gain valuable work experience before returning home. So the initial restrictions were and remain a cause for concern with regards to international student recruitment.

The subsequent exemption of doctoral candidates from the restrictions is a step in the right direction, but in a changeable job market the bar is still set too high. Master’s and first-class degree exemptions, as suggested by Vince Cable, the business secretary, would be better still. And while I agree with Steve West, vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England, that more “ifs and buts” about exceptions are not necessarily desirable, given the bigger picture I would welcome even the chance of progress that Cable hints at.

James Pitman
Managing director
HE – UK and Europe
Study Group

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