Reintroducing post-study work visas will help UK HE remain competitive

International students want to know that they are studying in a country that can set them up for a successful career, says Seema Kennedy

September 10, 2019
work visa post-study work rights
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The UK has some of the most famous and prestigious universities in the world.

They are leading lights in research, often at the forefront of pioneering and innovative developments that will shape the world for many years to come.

Alongside academic excellence, our universities have diverse and rich cultural histories, which make them wonderful places to live as well as study.

I recognise the important contribution that international students make to both their academic and cultural make-up, which is why there are no limits on the number of students who can come to study here. Importantly, our universities attract talented and ambitious people from all over the world. We have students from China studying at Cambridge, Sri Lankans at Salford and Brazilians at Birmingham. 

But I recognise that alongside our academic rigour and diverse culture, international students want to know that they are studying in a country that can set them up for a successful career.

While we already have a strong offer for international students, which is demonstrated by the fact that university-sponsored applications are at record levels, I want to do more. That is why we are launching a new graduate immigration route.

This new route will mean that talented international students will have greater opportunities to find work once they have successfully completed their studies. It will be open to all international students who already have leave here as a student and have completed a course of study at undergraduate level or above, at a reputable higher education provider.

These international students will then be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK, at any skill level for two years after finishing their studies, giving them the opportunity to stay and gain valuable work experience as they embark on their exciting new careers.

Why are we doing this? Well, this government has been clear: we want the brightest and best talent the world has to offer. The UK’s outlook going forward is global. Wherever in the world you are from, if you have talent and skills then we want you here.

We will do all that we can to make sure our world-leading industries, such as the higher education sector, remain competitive internationally. And attracting the brightest and best students from around the world is a key part of that ambition.

When it comes to studying at university, my message to international students cannot be clearer. If you want to study at the best universities, with the richest culture and the best chance of building a successful career, then the UK is best.

Seema Kennedy is an immigration minister in the UK government.

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Reader's comments (1)

Great news indeed! But when does this really come into effect? I guess the big question is, how will fairness be ensured with regards to the cut-off date that will significantly impact eligibility of graduates for the post study visa.