On 14 October, the Government published a fact sheet to provide more information relating to the new ‘Graduate Immigration Route’, announced in September.
The new visa will allow overseas students who graduate from the ‘summer’ of 2021 at degree level or above, from UK ‘compliant’ universities, to remain in the UK for a further two years to work. Compliant universities will need to adhere to the requirements of sponsor duties through their Tier 4 sponsor licence. This could result in students where the institution they are studying at is not compliant, being effectively penalised through no fault of their own, but that of their sponsor’s actions.
The visa will attract both a visa application and immigration health surcharge fee – one can expect these to be fairly substantial.
Unfortunately, those who graduate before this period will not be eligible to apply – the rationale being, they could not have had an ‘expectation’ when commencing their course, of staying beyond the period of their degree.
It is worth nothing the Governments position on students, which states:
“our ambition to increase education exports to £35 billion and the number of international higher education students to 600,000 by 2030”
This completes an extraordinary turnaround by the Conservatives who under Theresa May, significantly cut down student numbers to under Boris Johnson, who is now welcoming them – one can only wonder what Brexit supporters will think as it invites more migration and not cutting them down to the drumbeat of ‘tens of thousands”.
Apparently the visa cannot be introduced earlier, due to the administrative steps required for this to be put in place. This seems a little odd. The Home Office has an online system which one would imagine should not have to take two years to implement.