The United Kingdom has decided to reintroduce the two-year post study work visa for international students. Enrolments will be made from the 2020/21 academic session.
In the backdrop of increased political turmoil, this change of policy is aimed at addressing UK’s need for expertise in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Students entering the UK in the 2020-21 academic session will be eligible to avail the benefits of the changed policy.
The announcement has been timed in such a way that universities, stakeholders and customers preparing for the next academic session are aware of the change and factor it into their plans, said British Deputy High Commissioner to India Jan Thompson. About 4.5 lakh international students study in the UK per year and the government wants to take the number to 6 lakh.
Director, Universities UK International (UUKi), Vivienne Stern welcomed the move. She said, “This will put the UK back where we used to be – a first choice for international students. We have lost ground in the last few years, specifically in South Asia”. The two-year work right was revoked in 2012. This had an adverse impact on the influx of Indian students to the UK and a corresponding rise in the number of Indian students enrolling in Canadian varsities.
“I am confident that the announcement will result in a real bounce in interest in the UK,” said Stern. UUK chief executive Alastair Jarvis also described this as “very positive news”.
Jarvis said, “Reports shows that international students bring positive outcomes to the UK as well as £26 billion as a contribution to the economy. But lack of post-study work opportunities here in the UK has increased competition to attract those students.”
According to a UK government statement, the new Post Study Work (PSW) visa will be available to students who have successfully completed a degree at the undergraduate level or above in UK. Also, there will be no cap on the number of applications. The new immigration route will allow eligible students to work or search for a job at any skill level. They will also be able to switch to the skilled work route if they get a job.
Responding to a query on which students will be the first to benefit from the new rules, a Home Office spokesperson said, “Plans will be revealed in due course. Universities might recruit on the basis that students of 2020/2021 will benefit. The government is currently working on a timeline.”
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