International students will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduating, reviving the Tier 1 (Post-study) visa that was shelved by the Home Office back in 2012. Almost 400,000 Tier 1 PSW visas were granted in each of the five year between 2008 and 2012.
Effective from the 2020/21 university intake, those who enrol on undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD courses in the UK will be able to stay in the country to work or look for work for two years after they graduate.
However, unlike the route which closed in 2012, this new route will also include safeguards to ensure only genuine, credible students are eligible. Previously the post-study route allowed students to find any job, regardless of the skills required.
This announcement follows the creation of a new fast-track visa route for scientists and the removal of the limit on PHD students moving into the skilled work visa route, which collectively aim to cement the UK as a science superpower and a world-leader in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector.
There are over 450,000 foreign students in the UK, generating £20 billion per year through education exports, and research shows that they tend to earn considerably more than their UK counterparts once they leave university.
However, the four months “extra time” currently granted to Tier 4 students forces many to leave the UK as they do not have sufficient time or cannot demand a high enough salary to qualify for a sponsored Tier 2 work visa.
Dependant on the restrictions placed on eligibility, this additional two years should prove extremely popular and help make the UK education system more attractive to overseas students once again.