The UK Government is to return to its previous policy for international students, allowing new graduates to stay in the country for two years while job-searching. Under the May administration this policy was reduced to a mere four months as she claimed the previous scheme was ‘too generous.’
The new policy will come into force next year in the hope of allowing graduates more time to find long-term employment in the United Kingdom. This comes after the Home Office proposed an extension of 2 months for new international graduates, as well as a 10 month extension for those with doctorate degrees.
May’s decision to reduce the work visa policy in 2012 has been blamed for the fall in international students taking up studies in British Universities, and former University Minister Jo Johnson actively campaigned for prolonged visas throughout his time in government.
The government stated that the main purpose of the extended visa was to recruit talent within disciplines like Mathematics, Technology, Engineering and so on. With the new policy, there is however no cap on students who may benefit from it and it is meant to benefit students in their search for employment regardless of skill-sets.
Excluding EU-Students, the UK provided education for 460,000 international students in the past year, and now the government is aiming to increase that number to 600,000 in the coming 10 years. This increase will be especially important as Brexit is predicted to create a drop in EU students enrolled in British Universities.
Educational Secretary Gavin Williamson commented the following:
The important contribution international students make to our country and universities is both cultural and economic. Their presence benefits Britain, which is why we’ve increased the period of time these students can remain in the UK after their studies. Our universities thrive on being open global institutions. Introducing the graduate route ensures our prestigious higher education sector will continue to attract the best talent from around the world to global Britain.