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Gov't to grant foreign graduates two-year post-study visa

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: A new visa announced by the government means those who come to the UK from abroad to study will be able to stay for two years after graduation

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS will be able to stay in the UK for two years after they graduate as a result of a new post-study work visa announced by the government.

The new graduate route will be open to all international students who have valid UK immigration status as a student, providing they have successfully completed a course of study in any subject at undergraduate level or above with an approved UK higher education provider.

The visa will allow eligible students to work, or look for work, in any career or position of their choice, for two years after completing their studies. There will be no cap on numbers.

As it stands, international students who graduate with a bachelors or master’s degree are only given four months to obtain employment.

The new post-study visa, which will come into effect next year, marks a return to a policy that was dropped by the government in 2012 and branded as “too generous” by Theresa May during her tenure as home secretary.

Home secretary Priti Patel said: “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.

“It demonstrates our global outlook and will ensure that we continue to attract the best and brightest.”

Reacting to the policy, chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid said: “About time. Should have reversed this silly policy years ago. Britain should always be open to the best talent from across the world.”

The prime minister’s brother Jo Johnson, the former universities minister who resigned from the government last week, had campaigned on the issue.

He described the visa as a “brilliant move by prime minister Boris Johnson”.

Around 450,000 international students studied in the UK last year. The announcement has been welcomed by universities and higher education providers.

The University of Sheffield tweeted: “As co-founders of #WeAreInternational with
@SheffieldSU, we have long campaigned for the UK government to recognise the important contribution of international students to our society, culture and economy. We're delighted a new two-year post-study work visa has been announced.”

Linda Cowan, managing director Kaplan Pathways, tweeted: “Hours and hours of work across the sector over the last few years resulting in positive change. Our international students deserve this. Welcomed news.”

Birkbeck, University of London said: “International students offer major cultural, intellectual and economic contributions to the UK. We’re delighted that they will now have access [to] a two-year work visa after graduation, which will enable the UK to benefit from a skilled, global workforce.”

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