How UK’s New Post-Study Work Visa Will Affect Indian Students
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
The United Kingdom is now set to effectively reverse a policy decision taken in 2012 by the Theresa May government, which restricted the terms under which international students could work in the UK. At the time, the UK government had cited ‘misuse’ of visas and rules that were ‘too generous’.
Now, the Boris Johnson administration is set to launch a post-study work permit that will allow international students to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, for upto two years, a British High Commission spokesperson told media. As one of the largest groups who seek to study in the UK, Indian students stand to benefit especially from these changes. Over 1 in 5 of all UK’s study visas are granted to Indian students, the spokesperson said.
WHY THE CHANGE?
This is the newest among a raft of measures by the current government to boost its numbers of overseas students and skilled immigrants after the anticipated Brexit.
Other such measures to relax restrictions on international students in the recent past have included:
1. PhD-level occupations removed from the Tier 2 immigration cap.
A spokesperson confirmed that there are more of these visas given to Indians than to all other nationalities combined.
2. Key professions added to ‘Shortage Occupation List’
Veterinarians, architects and web designers will now find it much easier to get a visa by being included in this list.
3. Fast-track route for elite researchers from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields
4. New start-up and innovator routes announced in March
These give skilled businesspeople the opportunity to build businesses in the UK, whether these are their first businesses or whether they are experienced.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS?
Back when the May government had restricted the post-study work visa for international students, there had been reports of widespread fraud by institutions and by students. The new visa comes with conditions that aim to reduce the potential for abuse of the system.
The new visa is available to international students who have already completed an undergraduate degree, and importantly, to students who have graduated from an institution that has a track record of complying with the UK Home Ministry’s immigration rules. These are to ensure that students who go to the UK on this visa are:
a) Genuine students, going to pursue education rather than trying to find a backdoor to staying longer
b) Getting a legitimate education for their money rather than at sub-par institutions
FOREIGN STUDENTS AS ‘CASH COWS’?
The UK is currently the second-most sought-after destination for international students in the world, after the US. But it is facing stiff competition from Australia, which looks on track to knock it from its #2 perch this year.
In both countries, there are concerns that educational institutions are seeing (and treating) international students as ‘cash cows’, since they pay 20-30% higher fees than nationals do. In the push to attract international students, educational institutes have been accused of diluting their academic standards and thus failing to impart the promised high-quality education to international students.
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