UK’s new visa rules bring good news for Pakistani students

Foreign students will be allowed to stay in UK for two years after graduating

Foreign students will be allowed to stay in UK for two years after graduating

The UK Government has performed a U-turn on one of Theresa May's most controversial immigration policies, reintroducing two-year post-study work visas to encourage worldwide graduates to stay in the country.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Graduates very often when they first finish their degree, they look around for a job and it takes them a little while to settle into the world of work and therefore giving them that two-year period will enable them to find a job that befits their degree and that enables them to then use the work route'.

They argued that it would also make the UK a more attractive destination for worldwide students and graduates, enabling it to compete with other popular destinations such as the United States, Australia and Canada, who have more welcoming student visa policies - although in fact the USA has been tightening its visa regime and has built up a backlog in work permits for students and scholars over the past year.

The new strategy, announced by the Prime Minister, is aimed at boosting the appeal of Britain as a university destination for overseas students.

If implemented, the change in post-study visa will apply to students who start courses at undergraduate level or above from 2020 onwards.

But Alp Mehmet, chair of Migration Watch UK, attacked the reforms, saying it was "likely lead to foreign graduates staying on to stack shelves", with universities already attracting record numbers of overseas students.

The proposals, announced by the Prime Minister, cover global students who start courses in 2020/21 at undergraduate level or above. The government aims to increase the number to 600,000 over the next 10 years.

Last year United Kingdom universities educated around 4,60,000 students apart from the EU.

The prime minister said projects of this kind wouldn't be possible "without being open to the brightest and the best from across the globe to study and work" in the UK.

"This visa will make it significantly easier for them to do that", said Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International, which has been lobbying for such a visa for many years.

Chancellor Sajid Javid tweeted that the move was "about time", adding that the government "should have reversed this silly policy years ago".

In a post on Facebook, Visu wrote: "Since the post study work visas were scrapped in 2012, various organisations including students' unions, the NUS, country specific student unions, Higher Education institutions...and worldwide student campaigners have put their heart and soul into campaigning for the re-introduction of post-study work visas and finally, we relish the success of our campaign as a sector".

Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, said: "The important contribution worldwide students make to our country and universities is both cultural and economic".

Politicians and education officials have welcomed the change. "Not only will a wide range of employers now have access to talented graduates from around the world, but these students also hold lifelong links." said Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK.

He said the economy, universities and students will all benefit from a more sensible approach. "Introducing the graduate route ensures our prestigious higher education sector will continue to attract the best talent from around the world to global Britain", he added.

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