Monday, December 22, 2014

Home Office plans to send international students back home after spending up to £50000 obtaining a UK degree

The Sunday Times has leaked Home Office plans to force overseas students – who can spend as much as £50000 in course fees and living costs completing a UK degree at a minor university - to return to their home country after their courses finish before applying for a visa extension.

The latest Government plan to reduce net migration, reportedly being considered by the Home Secretary Theresa May, will be seen by international students, who bring in billions of pounds to the UK, as another slap in the face.

The news is bound to drive yet more of bright young people to the more student friendly visa regimes of Australia, Canada and other EU countries such as Germany.

Under May’s proposals, students from non-European countries would have to return home and apply for a work visa if they wanted to continue to live in the UK after graduation.

This means that if an employer wanted to sponsor a Tier 4 student visa graduate under a Tier 2 working visa, the candidate would have to travel back home to apply for another visa to re-enter the UK, a process which could take several months.

The report in The Sunday Times said Mrs May wants a future Conservative government to "move towards zero net student migration" by sending home those who come to Britain on student visas. 

A “source” close to the Home Secretary told the newspaper: "Making sure immigrants leave Britain at the end of their visa is as important a part of running a fair and efficient immigration system as controlling who comes here in the first place.

"Theresa is pressing for the next Conservative manifesto to contain a policy that will make sure that anybody coming here on a student visa will have to leave the country in order to apply for a new visa of any kind.

"She wants to make the colleges and universities that sponsor foreign students responsible for ensuring their departure.

"She wants to be able to fine colleges and universities with low departure rates and deprive the worst of them of their right to sponsor foreign students."

At present under the current Immigration Rules, the majority of graduate students are able to switch to a Tier 2 work visa whilst the UK. They also have options to apply for further leave to remain, for instance by switching to a Tier 1 or Entrepreneur visa.

The latest move will further erode the available options for graduate to remain in the UK. The previous Post Study Work (PSW), which allowed graduates to remain in the UK for up to 2 years in order to find an employer, was abolished along with other attractive features which helped make the UK a leading destination for fee paying students.

The coalition Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, who holds responsibility for universities has previously warned about the anti-immigration message being sent out around the world which is putting off students from countries like India from attending UK universities.

A senior Lib Dem source said her plan made "zero economic sense" and could deprive the UK of highly-skilled graduates.

"Such a blunt instrument would not get our support," the source said.

"The idea that you have people from abroad studying in this country and they become engineers or scientists of huge practical value to the economy, and rather than have them stay here you immediately turf them out makes zero economic sense."

Whilst the proposals have yet to become law, any foreign student currently studying in the UK or considering coming to the UK to study at a British university will be affected by the new visa rules upon graduation. In other words, even if they idea is never followed through the damage has been done and UK universities will have lost international students and much needed fees.

1 comment:

AlanH said...

I tend to agree with this plan of action. Whilst those with degrees from uni's in the UK will have no problem whatsoever in obtaining a working visa, it will cut out the bogus degree applicants who arrive then disappear. It will not in any way deter people from applying to UK uni's, because of a) the language, B) the quality, and C) the probability of obtaining a permanent working visa here in the UK once their degree is completed.