“We know that our Indian students are ambitious and passionate about their chosen career paths, and we welcome the focus on employability in the international education strategy,” said Vivienne Stern, Director of the Universities U K International (UUK), the higher education representative body which worked with the government on the new strategy.
“The target to grow the number of international students in the UK to 600,000 should send a clear message to students around the world: we want you here,” she said.
Indian students are set to benefit from an improved post-study visa regime as part of a new “International Education Strategy” launched by the UK government in preparation for its post-Brexit policies. The strategy is aimed at increasing the total number of international students from around the world choosing to study in the UK higher education system from the current level of 460,000 to 600,000 each year by 2030.
The new strategy, set to be rolled out in the coming years, will offer undergraduate and Masters’ students the chance to stay in the UK to look for work for six months after graduating.
Under the plans being formalized, undergraduate and Masters’ students will also have three months before graduating during which they can find work and change from a study visa to a work visa. At present, the process to switch from a student to work visa while in the UK is extremely complex.
Besides, PhD students will be able to stay in the UK for up to a year to find work after graduating and will also have three months before graduating during which they can find work and change from a study visa to a work visa.
“During the post-study leave period, students will have unrestricted access to work,” the strategy paper notes.
Additionally, international graduates will be given two years after graduating during which they can apply to switch their UK study visa to a UK work visa from outside the UK.
“The withdrawal of the PSW (post-study work) visa was attributed with a decline in international student recruitment in the UK from key markets, notably India. Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, the number of higher education students from India more than halved,” noted a report by the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Students in November last year.