To make it tougher for foreigners to stay in the country, British Home Secretary Suella Braverman is reportedly thinking of bringing down the stay duration permitted for overseas students under a post-study visa route.
The new Graduate Visa route, providing foreign students with the freedom to remain in the country to look for a job and obtain work exposure for up to two years minus the need for a specific job offer, is believed to be diluted under Braverman’s proposed review.
A Times report stated that Braverman is planning to “reform” the Graduate Visa route by mandating students to get a work visa via a skilled job or exit the UK after six months. The newspaper also indicated that UK Department for Education (DfE) is trying its best to stop the reform as it is concerned that it would adversely impact the UK’s popularity among international students.
Those backing Braverman’s plan feel that the Graduate Visa was being largely utilised by students for courses of short duration at not-so-prominent universities.
But, the DfE contends that the two-year Graduate Visa, usually known as the UK’s post-study offer, gave an edge to Britain against its chief competitors with only the US providing a one-year visa.
As per recent statistics by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Indians exceeded the Chinese as the bigger number of foreign students last year. Interestingly, the new Graduate Visa route, brought in July 2021, was largely used by Indians, 41 per cent of the visas issued.
Braverman’s plan is believed to be among the various devised after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak directed the Home Office and the DfE to present suggestions to lessen the number of foreign students entering the UK. As per last week’s figure, there were 680,000 students from other countries in the UK.