MPs attack government on student visa changes

The government must allow overseas students to stay in the UK after graduation to work as current rules are “jeopardising Britain’s position in the global race for talent”, MPs warn

February 24, 2015

The cross-party All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration published on 24 February an inquiry report into the impact of the government’s decision to close the post-study work route in 2012.

The post-study work route allowed non-European Union graduates to seek employment in the UK for up to two years after their studies.

In the wake of the change, the number of overseas students at UK universities fell last year, for the first time since records began in 1994-95.

The MPs say that “the current UK post-study work opportunities should be reconsidered”, with a view to “maximising the attractiveness of UK higher education in the face of an increasingly competitive international marketplace”, “continuing to serve the interests of UK employers, particularly within growth areas of the economy such as STEM” and “sending a positive message internationally that the UK is ‘open for business’”.

Among its recommendations, the report says that a “new immigration route should be established which allows non-EEA [European Economic Area] students to remain in the UK for a period of at least 12 months following graduation from a recognised domestic academic institution, in order to secure skilled employment”.

Labour MP Paul Blomfield, chair of the group, said: “The report lays bare the negative impact that closure of the former post-study work visa has had on British businesses and universities.

“Alternative visa routes have failed to attract talent and have actually prevented skilled graduates from contributing to the UK jobs market. There is strong cross-party agreement on the need to take action to restore our reputation as the ‘destination of choice’ for international students from all countries.”

Conservative MP Richard Bacon, a member of the group, said the “government’s current approach to post-study work and student migration policy is jeopardising Britain’s position in the global race for talent”.

He added: “We need to adjust our policy and improve our ability to attract students from around the world.”

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest