Home Secretary Theresa May Criticised for UK Student Immigration Policy

Yesterday, in an article published in The Guardian, Sir James Dyson, spoke out against Theresa May’s plans to expel international students from the UK on graduation. Sir James Dyson, one of UK’s most prominent inventors and business leaders stated that the Home Secretary’s proposals are “a short-term vote winner that leads to long-term economic decline”. 

This is not the first time Dyson has criticised the government’s immigration policies; in November 2012, he called on the government to ease restrictions on the number of overseas students remaining in the country after their courses had ended. At the time, Dyson insisted that “bright foreigners were needed to develop technology for export and relieve our skills shortage”.

Theresa May Plans to Expel Foreign Graduates

Under Theresa May’s controversial plans, international students will be forced to leave the UK after they have completed their studies and should they wish to return, they must apply for new visas from abroad. Currently those with student visas in the UK are able to switch into certain categories which will enable them to either start a business in the UK or work for a UK employer.

One argument against Theresa May’s policy is if students are required to return to their home countries upon completion of their studies, they may not return to the UK thereby depriving the UK of skilled workers.

Sir James Dyson: Border’s Must Stay Open to World’s Best

Writing for The Guardian, Sir James Dyson considered the implications of Theresa May’s proposals and echoed criticism from the academic and scientific communities, who believe that it will make a shortage of scientists and engineers worse.

Sir James Dyson wrote:

“Bright sparks are drawn to the UK for good reason – our universities are among the best in the world. Particularly for science and engineering. Yet the Home Office wants to say cheerio to these sharp minds as soon as their mortarboards land on college lawns. The moment research is finished students are forced back to their homelands, from where the home secretary is happy to allow them to apply for jobs in Britain. Not exactly motivating. Not exactly practical. This is an abrupt departure from an equally unworkable idea that after their research they have two months to be employed, otherwise they are ejected. No wonder fewer than 10% bother to try to stay.”

Current UK Visa Routes for Foreign Graduates

In 2012 the post-study work visa, which allowed graduates to work in the UK for 2 years  was scrapped. This caused concerns at the time that the UK immigration policy had become restrictive for foreign graduates trying to find work in the UK. However, students are still able to switch into other categories which enable them to work in the UK after they have graduated. The following are some visa routes:

  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur: this visa route allows graduates to extend their stay in the UK, after graduation, so they can establish businesses. The government have placed a limit on the number of Graduate Entrepreneur Visa applications which is currently capped at 1,000 per year and equally divided amongst participating institutions.
  • Tier 2 General Visa: this visa route allows graduates (in certain circumstances)  to stay and work in the UK for up to 5 years. Under this route, dependents or ‘family members’ as they are known,  of Tier 2 visa holders are able to apply to live in the UK with the Tier 2 visa holder. A dependent is classed as a husband, wife, partner or child under 18.

Successful UK Work Visa Applications & Appeals

If you are currently in the UK as a student and wish to explore your options of working here or setting up your own business, contact our expert immigration lawyers who will be happy to advise you.

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 2 visa application or a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.

We also undertake a great deal of appeal work before the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and have a successful track record of successful results for our clients. We have the experience and the knowledge required to take your case forward successfully. If you have had a student visa refused, contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment.

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