UK toughens rules for foreign graduates

Nieuws | de redactie
16 februari 2012 | Taking office in 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged bringing immigration down to the “tens of thousands”. Now, his ministers deliver: Non-EU students need to be employed with an officially approved firm earning a salary of at least £20.000 if they want to stay after their graduation.

Already in April, non-EU students graduating in the UK will haveto deal with toughened immigration rules. The British governmentannounced that from then on every overseas student is required tobe employed with a minimum salary of £20.000 (€24.000) should he orshe wish to stay living in the UK. In addition to that, the job hasto be with a firm that is officially approved by theauthorities.

Currently, students are allowed to stay up to two years in thecountry following their graduation. Conservative governmentofficials with Prime Minister David Cameron at the top pledged to cut the number of immigrants fromaround 190.000 to the “tens of thousands”.

Universities fear decline in internationalcompetitiveness

Immigration Minister, Damian Green, raised concerns overvisa-fraud by foreign students: “too many students have come to theU.K. to work rather than study and this abuse must end. It is vitalthat we continue to attract the brightest and the bestinternational students but we have to be more selective about whocan come here and how long they can stay.”

University officials, meanwhile, voiced criticism. Representingthe heads of all British universities, Universities UK chiefexecutive Nicola Dandridge commented that universities “areparticularly concerned about limited provision for post-studyemployment in the new rules. [This reform] could harm the U.K.’sinternational competitiveness, and the competitiveness ofuniversities in the international student market.”

Until now, British universities seem to be able to maintain their extraordinary popularity amongoverseas students. Recent numbers by UCAS indicated thatapplications from non-EU citizens grew by 13,7%.

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