The development is expected to pull in more international students by enabling them to seek professional opportunities at any skill level within the UK, for two years, once they complete their study.
By Rohit Sethi
For many years, the UK maintained its position of being the most attractive study destination for overseas nationals, especially in terms of student satisfaction. But the good old days for foreign students came to a standstill in 2012 when the then home secretary Theresa May scrapped the post-study work permit. This move also turned out to be a setback for universities in the UK, which witnessed a decline in the number of higher education students from several countries, including India.
However, in the wake of a recent announcement by the UK government, the situation seems extremely likely to become favourable once again. The Boris Johnson government has reinstated the two-year post-study work visa policy. The development is expected to pull in more international students by enabling them to seek professional opportunities at any skill level within the UK, for two years, once they complete their study.
Students would be allowed to switch onto the skilled work visa in case they find jobs. Currently, foreign students pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees only get the permission to stay and work for four months, while those studying at 27 universities on a pilot scheme are given six months for seeking jobs. Benefits to Indian students It will benefit Indian students planning to pursue academic opportunities in the 2020-21 academic year. In particular, it will give a fillip to Indian students for whom post-study work visa is a deciding factor when it comes to studying abroad.
To avail the benefits of this visa route, one must know it is a separate visa and calls for a new application form to be filled, inclusive of immigration health surcharge and payment of a visa fee. Moreover, graduates whose leave expires before the visa’s implementation (2020-21) will be disqualified and won’t be eligible for the benefits.
Benefits to employers in the UK
It will have a positive impact on employers in the UK who were earlier having a difficult time in the absence of the post-study work visa—44% employers faced issues with recruiting new talent, whereas 34% experienced employee-retention challenges last year, as per CIPD data. The reinstatement of the two-year work visa is a welcome move that will address these pressing concerns, while giving employers access to a larger pool of talented graduates.
(The author is director, ESS Global study abroad consultants. Views are personal)