The new immigration route introduced by the UK government allowing international students to work for two years after completing their programme of studies will benefit Indian students who were particularly prone to make their higher education choices based on being able to gain some work experience at the end of their degree.
The new post-study work visa (PSW) for graduates will allow eligible students to work, or crucially look for work, in any career or position of their choice, for two years after completing their studies.
This usually means a work and residence permit of 24 months (2 years) after graduation.
The new policy has effectively reinstated a policy ended by the UK government 8 years ago which is widely seen as responsible for a major drop in student numbers from countries like India. Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, the number of higher education students from India more than halved, according to a report by the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Students.
Any international student on a Tier 4 visa who enrols at a UK institution from September 2020 will be eligible to stay in the UK after graduation to find a job for two years whereas previously graduates of Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees had only four months to stay and look for a job. This applies to graduates of all higher education providers that are recognised as ‘licensed visa sponsors’.
This is an extension of rule changes which allowed PhDs to stay in the UK after graduation that according to the UK is to grow its STEM industry fields. According to official UK figures, almost half of all Indian students – 130,000 since 2008-9 – heading to the UK in the last 10 years chose a STEM subject. From 2020 onwards the option will be open to all graduates.
After the two years, when the PSW visa expires anyone who wants to stay longer will be able to apply for a transfer to a ‘general work visa’ (or ‘skilled work visa’) wherein your job must fit the visa requirements for a Tier 2 visa, the ‘general work visa’ (https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/eligibility).
“The new Graduate Route will mean talented international students, whether in science and maths or technology and engineering, can study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they go on to build successful careers,” said UK home secretary Priti Patel, the senior-most Indian-origin member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, according to The Economic Times. This new opportunity will boost Indian students in choosing British universities making the UK an attractive destination for students seeking to start their international career as few other countries in Europe offer such good conditions for their foreign students.