This month, the International Business Times (IBT) recently highlighted the importance of involving Non-EEA students in debates on the UK’s immigration policy. According to QS World University Rankings, the highest ranking European universities are all in the UK – the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and the University of Oxford which means that there is scope for attracting some of the world’s brightest and talented students. However, UK immigration policy deters these students from remaining in and contributing to the UK economy.
Worryingly, recent research by National Union of Students (NUS) and The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) reveals that out of the 42% of international students studying here, only a third go on to start businesses in the UK. In this article, we discuss the research and explore how restrictive the current immigration policy is.
NUS Study: Students Lack Knowledge of UK Visa & Immigration Options
The UK has managed to attract some of the brightest and talented students across the globe. However, there are concerns that due to the current restrictive immigration policy, international students who come to the UK to obtain degrees, skills, knowledge and ideas of what kind of businesses they want to start, find that after graduation they have to go elsewhere to put their ideas into fruition. The National Union of Students (NUS), along with The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN), has attempted to understand the view of international students on entrepreneurship. The aim of ‘Made in the UK: Unlocking the Door to International Entrepreneurs’ study, is to encourage a change in the current immigration system, in order to make the process easier for international graduate students to become entrepreneurs in the UK.
The study focused on the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa route and found that out of the international students who participated in the survey:
- Only 2% of students who want to start a business after graduation applied for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa;
- 62% of students did not consider applying for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa;
- Only 32% of students believe that the UK provides the worst post-study processes; and
- Only 17% of students who want to start a business believe that their university offered sufficient guidance about entrepreneurship.
A further finding of the study was that the enthusiasm for entrepreneurship declines as study progresses. The study recommends universities to give their international students specific business mentorship and guidance to develop student business ideas within their programme of study.
Entrepreneur Visas: Keep Hold of Business Talent
The findings above show that more has to be done in order to keep international graduate entrepreneurs in the UK. The restrictions placed on international students after they have graduated and the disappointment of the UK Graduate Entrepreneur Visa route means that the nation is losing valuable talent they have helped train. Tim Farron, the President of the Liberal Democrats stated:
“It’s no wonder really. Judging by Conservative rhetoric, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the UK isn’t open to the talents of anyone from anywhere outside the UK, regardless of the economic benefits they might bring. The Government has tried to make provision for entrepreneurs who want to stay and generate businesses and jobs here, creating a new visa – the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa – to allow business-minded graduates a limited time to start their business here. But take up is pitiful.”
He further stated:
“Every business was started by someone with a good idea and the passion, vision and resources to carry it out. We train up some of the best international brains. Six of the world’s top universities are in London – more than any other city in the world. Britain is a university superpower, second only to the US, and yet we don’t think strategically about keeping hold of the business talent we’re training. The Lib Dems want a Britain that is open for business – and that includes giving the students we’ve trained the chance to give back by creating businesses here, rather than in a competitor country.”
Successful Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Applications & Appeals
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the 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 entrepreneur visa refused, contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment.