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Studying in UK may get complicated for foreign students post completion of course

Posted on December 29, 2014
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Since April 2012, UK has discontinued the two-year post-study work route for international non-EU students. UK home secretary Theresa May’s plan, which would require foreign students to leave the country after they complete their courses, is likely to hit Indian students hard. Many of those planning to move overseas for higher education are now likely to drop their UK plans and opt for other destinations. May’s proposal, which is| being considered for the next Conservative party manifesto, is being justified by the UK home secretary on grounds that the current visa rules are being abused with many international students staying back in Britain illegally after their university courses.

Currently, international students can stay in the UK for up to four months after the end of their course. If they secure graduate employment, they can switch from a student visa to a work visa. Under the proposed rules, non-EU students will have to return to their home country when their student visa expires and re-apply if they wish to take up graduate employment.

While this move by UK Conservative party has received a lot of criticism, experts are still trying to understand its impact on Indian students who are planning to study in the UK. “We must be mindful of the fact that the plan has just been unveiled and is far away from implementation. Non-EU students bring in about £10-13 billion to the UK by way of tuition fees and living expenses. If this rule were to be enforced, it would have a detrimental impact on export revenue and would also affect international relations,” says Rohan Ganeriwala, co-founder, Collegify, a consultancy firm for study abroad.

“In terms of impact on Indian students going to the UK for higher education, approximately 55- 60% stay back after graduation for employment in the UK while the rest return home. We would experience some migration of these students to other countries for higher education,” he adds. Mr Ganeriwala feels that many Indian students will now opt for USA, Canada, Continental Europe and Singapore instead of the UK. “Continental Europe and Singapore have become popular choices in recent years because of high-quality educational institutes and would gain from this,” he added.

In the UK, the Labour party has criticised the government move pointing out that foreign students bring “billions of investment” into Britain. The UK government, however, seems to be very rigid on its target to curb immigration following a target set by the Prime Minister David Cameron to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by the next election.

Many Indian students who choose the UK for higher education purely for academic pursuit, will not change their plans. However, many who are looking at employment opportunities beyond their education may put their plans on hold,” says Aditi Sharma, a Delhibased designer who studied a masters in industrial design from UK’s Loughborough University in 2010-11. “In my case, I returned to India, although some of my friends decided to stay back. I do not regret my decision. My aim of going to the UK was acquiring higher qualification and exposure to international exposure,” Sharma adds.

Since April 2012, UK has discontinued the two-year post-study work route for international non-EU students. At present, foreign students from non-EU countries, graduating with a UK degree need to successfully find a job with a UK Border Agency licensed Tier 2 sponsor to remain in the UK after they finish their courses. Further, they need to receive a minimum salary of £20,000.

“The law which has been in effect since the last two years has been impacting foreign students in the UK. And though UK has emerged a prime destination for undergraduate and post-graduate studies for Indian students, especially those looking at pursuing MBA courses which are value for money, with no employment option available after pursuing the programme the financial burden for the students increases. Hence, the new law will adversely affect UK being a top study abroad destination for students looking at mainstream courses atleast by 25-30% in 2015 itself,” says Nilufer Jain, co-Founder EduCat, an education consultancy.

For more news and updates, assistance with your visa needs or for a Free Assessment of your profile for Immigration or Work Visa’s just visit www.y-axis.com

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