Review of the UK Graduate Visa: Any notable changes?

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James Cleverly, the UK Home Secretary, has voiced reservations regarding the Graduate Visa application process. According to him, staying and working in the UK might be the primary reason students travel to the country. Universities and companies, on the other hand, have criticized these worries, claiming that the Graduate Visa pathway is essential for drawing in foreign talent. Undoubtedly, the purpose of the UK Graduate visa is to entice students to reside and work in the UK.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has formally commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to investigate the Graduate Visa pathway. Numerous aspects will be examined in the review, such as the individuals utilizing the visa path, the universities from where they graduated, and their post-study activities. In September or October of 2024, the MAC is anticipated to submit its findings and recommendations.

The UK’s university association, Universities UK (UUK), has stressed the value of the Graduate Visa pathway in luring in foreign students. The MillionPlus group of institutions’ CEO, Rachel Hewitt, has voiced concerns about the timing of the assessment and its possible effects on the higher education industry. She stressed that UK PLC and the higher education sector are both harmed by unfavorable headlines and policy changes that make Britain less appealing to overseas students. She said that higher education is a British success story.

The business community in the UK is concerned about possible modifications to the Graduate Visa process. Companies appreciate the Graduate Visa because it makes it possible for them to employ internationally skilled recent graduates. For industries with a skills shortage, like technology and engineering, the visa path is especially crucial. According to a recent survey, if the Graduate Visa route were eliminated, two thirds of businesses would be less likely to hire foreign graduates. The government is being urged by the business community to carefully consider any modifications to the Graduate Visa process.

It’s unclear how the government’s review will turn out. The goal of the government is to significantly lower immigration. The following modifications to the visa process could be implemented by the government:

  • Eligibility Criteria: The government could make it more difficult for certain students to qualify for the Graduate Visa route. This could involve tightening the academic or financial requirements for eligibility.
  • Duration of Stay: The government could reduce the amount of time graduates can stay in the UK after graduation. Currently, graduates can stay for two years (or three years for PhD graduates) after their studies for work. This period could be shortened.
  • Job Restrictions: The government could introduce restrictions on the types of jobs graduates can take. For instance, they could require graduates to secure a job in a specific sector or at a certain salary level.
  • University Restrictions: The government could limit the Graduate Visa route to graduates from certain universities or courses. This could be based on the university’s ranking, the course’s relevance to UK’s strategic sectors, or other factors.

These possible modifications may have a big impact on UK colleges, industries that depend on the talent and abilities of foreign graduates, and international students. All parties involved will therefore be keenly observing the review’s conclusion.

Although the government has expressed worries about possible misuse of the visa system, questions have been raised regarding the review’s timeliness and methodology. The new international education strategy aims to increase the number of international students and diversify recruiting, but some claim that the government’s activities contradict this goal. They argue that the UK’s standing as a friendly country for foreign investment and students is being harmed by the government’s actions. It will be interesting to watch how the government strikes a compromise between enforcing immigration laws and preserving the UK’s position as a leader in higher education worldwide.

It’s crucial to remember that immigration and education are two factors involved in the Graduate Visa process. It makes it possible for a large number of foreign students to immigrate to the UK, adding to the country’s diversity and vibrancy.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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