UK restores two-year post-study work visas

In 2012, then-Home Secretary Theresa May reduced the length of work visas for post-grad foreign students to four months from the previous two. The UK Government has now reversed that change and reinstated the period to the full two years.

This means that eligible students will now be able to stay in the UK and seek work for two years as from their graduation in Summer 2021 or thereafter. Provided they have studied at a recognised UK university that has a track record of adhering to immigration law, they will be able to seek work at any skill level.

Better than expected after university pressure

Earlier indications were that extensions of six months for undergraduate and master’s students and twelve months for doctoral students would be granted but pressure from university leaders citing the need to compete with Australia, Canada and other destinations, appears to have encouraged the government to return to the full two years.

Universities UK Chief Executive Alistair Jarvis called it “very positive news”. Highlighting the fact that foreign students contribute £26 billion to the UK economy, he also suggested that high numbers of them, having graduated in the UK, would be very likely to wish to maintain business links and visit the country as tourists in the future. It would also provide UK employers with a pool of international talent.

Fits well with government goals

This revised policy blends with the UK Government’s International Education Strategy which was released earlier in the year. The aims of the Strategy include growing the numbers of foreign students to 600,000 from the current 460,000 and to double the value of education exports to £35billion, requiring a growth rate of 4% through to 2030.

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