Working in the UK after Graduation
Closure of the Tier 1 Post-Study Work (PSW) Visa – a visa category which enabled foreign students who had successfully completed their studies to stay and work in the UK for up to 2 years without the need for a Sponsor has been detrimental to the UK economy.
In their latest report published this week, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Migration has warned that the UK is at risk of losing its standing in the international student market since the closure of the popular and flexible Tier 1 PSW Visa.
Highlights of the key findings include:
- Reform of the UK’s post study work opportunities in 2012 appears to have contributed towards significant shifts in international student flows to the UK over the past five years. This could have implications for the UK’s future standing within an internationally competitive marketplace. A shift of preference towards universities in other English speaking countries, such as Canada and Australia, who offer much more attractive post-study work visa regimes and opportunities is already taking place.
- The closure of the Tier 1 PSW route has resulted in a significantly larger decline in the numbers of skilled international graduates able to remain in the UK for employment following their studies than that anticipated by the Government.
- Tier 2 (General) has prevented some UK employers from being able to recruit skilled international graduates, as a result of its restrictive costs and requirements. This has been particularly the case at the regional level with a far lower number of Tier 2 (General) Sponsor Licence holders outside London and the South East has made it less likely for those employers to have access to skilled graduates from outside the EEA region when required. Likewise, employers in particular sectors, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Creative Arts and Motorsports, are also experiencing the same barriers and difficulties.
Most importantly, in its findings, the Committee recommended that:
- A new immigration route should be established which allows non-EEA students to remain in the UK for at least 12 months following graduation from a recognised domestic academic institution, in order to secure skilled employment.
- Improvements should be made to Tier 2, in order to ensure that skilled international graduates can be retained within key sectors of the UK economy.
- Consideration should be given to improving additional routes for post study work in the UK. In particular, the three afore mentioned routes should be reviewed.
- The Government should commission an in depth independent review of the impacts of policy in this area and on the UK’s share of the international student market.