The United Kingdom (UK) is going to open its labour market for foreign students from 2021, bringing a new policy under which they will be able to stay and look out for work in the country for up to two years after proper completion of study. The aim behind the new strategy is enhancing the appeal of UK as a top higher education destination among prospectus international students.
The new immigration policy involving foreign students’ post-study work opportunity is not a brand new one as the same one was effective till 2012. Then Home Secretary former Prime Minister Theresa May scrapped the policy in that year and cut down post-study stay period to just four months, describing it as ‘too generous’ and as an attempt to reduce the net number of immigrants to the country.
Under the new policy introduced on September 11th by the current Boris Johnson government and to be effective from the year 2021, international students enrolling in undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD courses in UK universities will be able to stay in the country for two years after graduation with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The Uk is already top foreign students hosts country in the world with about 4,60,000 students educated in British universities last year. The government wants to increase that number further to 6,00000 over the next ten years under the new policy.
Hosting foreign students is a big source of revenue earning for the government as it currently earns £20 billion per year from this sector. The Boris Johnson government wants to earn more revenue from this with a focus on so called skilled migrants in line with its approach to post-Brexit immigration. The current government wants to take in ‘best & brightest’ migrants as several recent surveys have shown that Britons are increasingly interested in migrants with professional qualifications.
International students have been an important revenue source for UK universities as well. They are investing huge amounts of money in marketing overseas to attract students. But the reforms introduced in 2012 by the then Home Secretary had been a big barrier to getting further more foreign students compared to other western competitors like Australia, USA, Canada, China etc. So it is natural that the UK university authorities are extremely happy with the latest policy changes by the government.
Welcoming the move, Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said, ‘For too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the UK has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students.’ He further said, ‘ We strongly welcome this policy change, which will put us back where we belong as a first choice study destination.’ But some anti-immigrant groups and quarters are not satisfied with the measures by the government describing it as backward and foolish decision. As for example, Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch UK, expressed his opinion this way, ‘the move is an “unwise and retrograde step.’
Finally to draw the finish line, one critical information is to be put forward. A report published earlier this year found that foreign students who study in UK universities, earn up to 50 percent more than their British peers. The study done by the Higher Education Policy Institute has shown that while math graduate Britons earn an average of £33,100, their non-European peers earn £48,600 five years after graduation respectively. This difference in earning exists with subject economics as well. The study has further demonstrated that British economics graduates earn an average of £37,900 compared to £45,700 by non-EU graduates. In both subjects, graduates from other EU countries earn more than their British classmates but less than their non-EU classmates.
So why not the UK for your higher education destination if you are a full outsider! Source : The Telegraph, Daily Mail Online.