The UK government announced on Wednesday a new two-year post-study work visa, a long-standing demand from international students, including Indians.
According to a statement by the British High Commission in Delhi, “The new ‘Graduate’ route will be open to all international students – including those from India – who have valid UK immigration status as a student and have successfully completed a course of study in any subject at undergraduate level or above at an approved UK higher education provider. The visa will allow eligible students to work, or look for work, in any career or position of their choice, for two years after completing their studies.”
Push to boost STEM is good news for Indian students
The announcement of the new visa programme follows the creation of a 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. Indian student numbers have significantly increased over the last three years, reaching almost 22,000 in the year ending June 2019. Almost half of all Indian students heading to the UK in the last ten years chose a STEM subject.
Often referred to as a ‘Post-Study Work visa’ in India, the new Graduate route will launch for the 2020-21 intake of students to universities in the UK. After the two years, they will be able to switch onto the skilled work visa if they find a job which meets the skill requirement of the route.
The visa will offer opportunities to work or look for work after graduating. However, unlike the route which closed in 2012, this new route will also include safeguards to ensure only genuine, credible students are eligible.
This follows a shake-up of immigration rules announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in August to encourage top scientists to move to the UK.
British High Commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith said, “This is fantastic news for Indian students, who will now be able to spend more time in the UK after completing their degree, allowing them to gain further skills and experience.”