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UK Govt Retains Graduate Visa Route for International Students

The UK government announced the continuation of the Graduate Visa Route, allowing international students to work or seek work for two years post-graduation.

In a recent announcement, the UK government confirmed the retention of the graduate visa route, a move welcomed by international students and educational institutions alike. This visa allows graduates to work or search for employment in the UK for up to two years, with PhD graduates granted an extended period of three years.

This decision comes after careful consideration of the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendations. The focus now shifts to regulating recruitment agencies and ensuring universities maintain high compliance standards.

Understanding Graduate Visa Route!

Introduced in 2021, the Graduate Visa Route allows international graduates to stay and work in the UK. Recently, the government considered scrapping it due to concerns about attracting high earners and visa misuse. Instead, it decided to retain the visa while enforcing stricter regulations on recruitment and university compliance.

Cracking Down on Rogue Agents and Non-Compliant Institutions

The UK government aims to eliminate fraudulent practices by “smashing” the business models of rogue recruitment agencies that mislead international students.

Universities face stricter scrutiny, with the possibility of losing their sponsor license if they fail to meet compliance standards. This includes accepting students who don’t meet visa requirements or fail to enroll and complete their courses.

Additional Measures for a Robust System

  • Financial Requirements: The UK will raise financial maintenance requirements for international students.
  • English Language Tests: English language assessments are under review to ensure student proficiency.
  • Restrictions on Remote Learning: New limits will be placed on the amount of coursework that can be delivered remotely.

While the Graduate Visa Route remains, it will be “kept under review” due to concerns about attracting high-skilled graduates. Data suggests a significant number of graduates end up in lower-paying jobs.

Industry Reactions: Relief and Commitment

National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK: “Delighted and relieved” with the government’s decision to maintain the Graduate Visa Route, crucial for Indian students.

Universities UK: Committed to working with the government to regulate recruitment agencies and maintain trust in student recruitment practices.

Indian National Students Association UK: Emphasizes the route’s importance for attracting international talent and filling skill gaps.

Impact on Indian Students

The UK remains a popular destination for Indian students, with 116,455 student visas granted in the year ending March 2024. The retention of the graduate visa route is seen as a significant factor in maintaining this trend, offering Indian students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and contribute to the UK economy after graduation.

Conclusion

The UK government’s focus on regulating recruitment and university practices aims to streamline the student visa system, ensuring it attracts genuine students who can contribute meaningfully to the UK’s academic and economic landscape.

 

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