20,000 Jobs go to Foreign Graduates

June 23, 2012

It is time that British Graduates were given priority for jobs. That is the conclusion of a study published today by Migration Watch UK.

Under the latest government scheme, all foreign graduates are allowed to stay on for six months to look for a job. This is supposed to attract “the brightest and the best”. It does nothing of the kind. In reality:

  • It applies to non-EU graduates from over 600 institutions who may number about 100,000 a year
  • It applies to all “graduates” whatever their subject or their grade
  • There are some 600 degree awarding institutions in the UK (but only 120 are themselves universities)
  • A one year course in the UK is sufficient to quality for this scheme
  • The salary need only be £20,000 a year
  • There is no limit on numbers
  • And no test to see whether a British graduate is available.

The number of such work permits granted in 2011 was 40,000. The Home Office estimate, that in future, the number will be about 20,000 a year. Migration Watch recommend that:

  1. The salary threshold be raised to £25,000
  2. The jobs should be made available first to British graduates
  3. Only those who have spent at least two years studying in the UK should be eligible.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said:

“Unemployment amongst recent British graduates is now about 20%. They already have to compete with EU graduates. It is inexcusable that tens of thousands of jobs should go to foreign graduates without any requirement to test the local market first. The higher education sector claims that the option of work attracts foreign students – probably so, but these institutions should be selling education, not immigration. British graduates emerging from universities with huge debts deserve a fair crack at any jobs that are available. The Foreign Secretary said at PM’s questions on 20 June that the government was making sure that all but the very best go home at the end of their studies. This is clearly not the case at present. The scheme should be severely restricted or, preferably, abolished. The effect would be to make this a genuinely temporary route, as Universities UK claim it to be ”.

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