Study abroad Education

Reintroducing two-year post-study work visa for international students a welcome move

Universities in the U.K. are truly global at their heart, and are proud to provide a welcoming home to students from India and other countries across the world. That is why, when the government recently made a long-awaited announcement that it will reintroduce a two-year post-study work visa for international students, we were overjoyed.

For many years, universities, sector bodies, businesses and international students themselves have been tirelessly campaigning for a better post-study work offer which fully recognises the important contributions of international students to the U.K. The University of Sheffield felt strongly about the need for policy change and in collaboration with the Students’ Union, co-founded #WeAreInternational — a campaign which is supported by more than 160 universities and organisations across the country. It was something that everyone wanted — that the government remove the barriers that prevented some students from coming to study in the U.K., and to send a clear message to international students that they are not only welcome here, but their contributions are truly valued. It is indeed a cause for celebration that now, international students, including those from India, will be able to stay and build successful careers in the U.K., when they finish their degrees.

More time, better options

It is fantastic news for Indian students who want to study at universities here, for it means that they will be able to stay in the U.K. for longer after they graduate to look for work in their chosen fields. Instead of only having four months, as they did under the previous system, they will now be able to stay in the country for two years. While the complete details are yet to be furnished, it has been confirmed that international students who complete their course in or after the summer of 2021 will be eligible to apply for the new two-year graduate route. Under the new policy, the visas would have no cap on numbers, and would allow graduates to apply for jobs regardless of their skills or the subject they studied.

It is a victory for students, but also for common sense. For many years, many have been making the case that by giving international students the opportunity to stay and work here after their studies, everybody benefits. International graduates are able to continue their own development and strengthen their links with the U.K., while employers have access to the best talent from across the globe.

International students play a vital role in expanding the vibrant and dynamic cultural environment of our universities. They volunteer in our communities, offer different perspectives and skills that make a real difference. Our diverse student population is crucial to the education, research and innovation for which our universities are known around the world.

The announcement of a two-year post-study work visa also reflects the global outlook of the U.K., and its universities, which are proud of their links with India. We want to send a clear message that anyone who wishes to study here will receive a warm welcome and a world-class education.

The writer is President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield.

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Printable version | Oct 14, 2021 1:56:10 AM |

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