UK Immigration: Further Work Restrictions for Foreign UK Graduates

Home Secretary, Theresa May, has this week backed proposals to force students from non-EEA countries to leave the UK after they have completed their studies and to apply for new visas to the UK from abroad. Theresa May hopes that the policy will be included in next year’s Conservative general election manifesto but this has already provoked anger and condemnation from those who believe that this may deter highly skilled graduates.

Theresa May Plans to Expel Foreign Graduates

Theresa May hopes that her new policy would ensure that migrants leave the UK at the end of their visa which she believes “is as important a part of running a fair and efficient immigration system as controlling who comes here in the first place.”

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.

The Home Secretary has repeatedly clashed with Business Secretary Vince Cable on this topic as he believes that a restrictive immigration policy would discourage students from coming to the UK.

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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