Theresa May’s UK Immigration Policy for International Students Scrapped

This week, we reported that Sir James Dyson had criticised Home Secretary Theresa May’s proposals to force international students to leave the UK upon completion of their studies and apply for new visas from abroad. Following sharp criticism from the business community and former universities minister David Willetts, the Home Secretary has been forced to back down. However, critics claim that  the UK’s “disastrous” student immigration policy is still far from resolved.

Tougher Controls on International Migrants Scrapped

Theresa May had wanted the Conservatives to include tougher student immigration measures in their election manifesto, arguing that tougher controls were needed on non-EU students. However, Chancellor George Osborne has quashed the proposals amid warnings that they would damage British universities and business.

Further, a Conservatives official has maintained that:

“We have a policy that international students can stay when they graduate if they find a graduate-level job paying £24,000 a year. That remains the policy.”

However, despite this non-EU graduates only have four months to obtain a job worth £24,000 a year and apply for a work visa. The Guardian reports that following these rules, the number of graduates who were granted extended visas dropped by 84% in one year.

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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