Further restrictions to be applied to foreign students
17 July 2015
The Home Office has announced that international students in the UK will not be allowed to work alongside their studies and must leave the country once their degree programmes have finished.
These changes are part of a series of reforms being made with the intention of tackling visa fraud. The reforms will be introduced in parliament later this week.
Non-EU students will not be allowed to undertake any work while studying. Once they have completed their courses, international students must leave the country before they can apply for work visas.
Additionally, visas for further education (i.e. postgraduate studies) will be cut from three years to two years. Any international students applying for further education visas must be registered at an institution with “a formal link to a university”.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the incoming changes, alongside measures to remove the sponsorship rights of bogus colleges, will restrict international students’ access to the jobs market as part of “our plan to control immigration for the benefit of Britain” and to “stop immigration cheats abusing publicly funded colleges.”
These new restrictions have met widespread criticism. Indeed, previous plans to make international students leave the UK after graduation were blocked by Tory leaders due to the potential damage to Britain’s economy.
Economic sociologist and management scholar Thomas Roulet commented: “We (universities) won’t be able to recruit the best global applicants as they would prefer the US and more favorable policies.” Others have agreed, arguing that the inability to work may put off international students from undertaking education in the UK and thus from contributing to the UK’s economy and academic research.
In addition to these controversial changes, proposals are being put forward to stop spouses and other dependants of non-EU postgraduates from working in the UK, which Sir Christopher Snowden, the vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey and president of Universities UK, said “will discourage legitimate students with spouses from studying here.”