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What do international students need to know about the latest UK visa changes?

It’s been a big year for political changes in the UK, from a new Prime Minister to Brexit discussions and general confusion from both sides of the debate. However, last month the UK government announced that it would be increasing the post-study work visa for international students to two years. This update is fantastic news for international students, universities, and all who support them but what do we know so far?

The move to increase the post-study work visas is being hailed as long overdue. The Guardian comment that “the decision reverses one of the most contentious policies from Theresa May’s time in charge of immigration policy, which shrank the time available for overseas students to stay and work after graduating from two years to as little as four months in most cases”. Not only does this change make the UK a more appealing place for prospective students to study, but gives a realistic time frame in which to find a job in the UK post-study. It’s important to note that these changes are due to come into effect for students beginning their degrees in the 2020/21 intake and won’t apply to current students which understandably is a point some are unhappy with. New policies do however take time to be put into place and the overall message is that of a positive welcome to future cohorts of international students.

Presently, most international students have four months once completing their degree in which to find a role in the UK if they wish to remain in the country. The challenge here can be that both international and home students who are graduating often lack experience. International students studying in the UK can make up that shortfall by engaging with opportunities at university which help increase work experience. However, increasing the post-study visa time not only gives international graduates more time to add to their experience but provides a more appealing destination for prospective students.

While the Migration Advisory committee report that currently “96 per cent of international students return to their home country after graduation” this proposed change could provide international students with more choice and flexibility when it comes to their careers and where they gain their experience from. Most students find it takes time to find a suitable role so this update is a welcome one.

For current or prospective students looking for a global role or free careers advice, register for GradLink today! We use country-specific advice on our website to inform students and graduates of how to find a graduate role after university whether in the UK or in your home country.

By Jen Garmston Published: October 08, 2019

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