UK clarifies post-study work visa eligibility after ‘confusion’

Visa route on offer for those ‘graduating in the summer of 2021 and after’, but Indian students concerned by announcement’s ambiguity

September 17, 2019

The UK Home Office has confirmed that post-study work visas will be available for students “graduating in the summer of 2021 and after”, following criticism of the government’s initial announcement for causing “confusion” among international students.

The government’s initial press release announcing the return of two-year post-study work visas was issued by the Department for Education on 10 September. It said the new route “will be available to international students who have successfully completed a course in any subject at undergraduate level or higher at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance, and have Tier 4 [student visa] leave at the point the route is introduced”.

The press release added: “This includes students who start courses in 2020-21 at undergraduate level or above.”

Times Higher Education has since been contacted by a number of current and prospective international students uncertain as to their eligibility for the new visas. Some with places at UK universities starting this autumn asked whether they would need to defer their entry for a year to be eligible.

After THE contacted the Home Office for clarification, a spokesman for the department said that students “graduating in the summer of 2021 and after will be eligible”.

“We’ll set out further plans on the introduction of the route in due course,” the Home Office spokesman added.

Indian students have been among those expressing concerns about the lack of reliable guidance on timing. This is embarrassing for the government because one of the key aims behind the reintroduction of post-study work visas was to reverse the dramatic decline in the number of Indian students after abolition of the visas in 2012.

Sanam Arora, chair of the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK, said the post-study work visa announcement, while welcome, had created “a lot of confusion”.

Three categories of student were “very concerned at present”, she added: students starting courses this month; those already in the UK and in possession of valid student visas when the change is implemented; and students “who are currently graduating”.

“We firmly believe all categories should be in scope for the PSW [visas] and have written to authorities asking for urgent clarification. It is important they do so immediately because students are now wondering whether they should defer entry to the following year or cancel and reapply,” Ms Arora said.

john.morgan@timeshighereducation.com

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Print headline: UK clarifies visa eligibility after ‘confusion’

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Reader's comments (5)

When will Indian and British government start giving mutual recognition to each other master degree. As one year master degree from British University is not equivalent to Indian master degree.
I can't apply for public sector jobs or further higher education in India for MPhil or PhD.
Does this mean that, those starting their studies by January 2020 will not be eligible
Does this mean that, those starting their studies by January 2020 for 1year course will not be eligible....please clarify
I have a two year program starting 2019 which includes 1year placement and ends in May 2021, will I be eligible or not...could you clarify

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