British Home Secretary Committed to Cut Time Int’l Students Can Stay In UK After Graduation

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Jan 27, 2023


Home Secretary of the United Kingdom Suella Braverman is planning to reduce the time international students are allowed to stay in the UK after completing their studies, according to local media reports.

Braverman has proposed to reform the Graduate Visa route requiring international students in the UK to obtain a work visa by finding a skilled job if they want to remain in the UK or leave the country after six months of graduation.

Currently, the Graduate Visa route allows international students to stay in the UK for at least two years, after graduation, without requiring them to find a job over the period, reports.

The Times reported on Wednesday (January 25) that the Department of Education (DfE) has strongly disagreed with the proposal, saying that it is trying to block these changes because they would harm UK’s reputation as a study destination among international students.

The Department also said that the UK’s post-study visa was in line with most of Britain’s competitors, except for the US, which offers a one-year visa.

Vivienne Stern, Chief executive of Universities UK, the peak body for universities in the country, said these changes would harm UK's economy.

“This would be an act of economic self-harm. It would be taking something that the UK is really good at and putting people off choosing to pay for a UK higher education, which is held with such high regard around the world,” the head of the sector body told the newspaper.

>> UK Govt Planning to Restrict Number of International Students, Universities Say This Would Be “An Act of Economic Self-Harm”

According to 2021/22 figures released by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), there were nearly 680,000 international students in the UK in the 2021/22 academic year. India and China were the main source countries of international students, sending 151,690 and 126,535 students, respectively.

Within the European Union, UK education institutions enrolled more students from France (11,870) than from any other EU country. Last year, French students at UK universities were followed by Italians (11,320) and Spanish students (10,330).

In 2021/22, the number of students from the European Union dropped to 120,140 from 152,905 in 2020/21, while the non-EU student numbers increased to 559,825 from 452,225 the previous year.

The UK’s government had set a target of welcoming 600,000 international students by 2030, but it was met last year when the country’s higher education providers hosted a total of 605,130 international students.

Braverman suggested reducing the number of international students in the UK last year as well, a statement to which Universities UK, representing 140 universities operating in the UK, reacted, saying that such negative rhetoric is “unhelpful and counterproductive.”

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