June 25, 2015
In April 2012 the Home Secretary closed the Tier 1 Post Study Work visa - one of the most generous visas of its kind in the world - which allowed all graduates of any subject and any degree class to stay on for two years to search for work. In 2011, the year before it was scrapped, nearly 50,000 international students did so.
In the first full year following the closure of the Post Study Work visa, when students were required to find graduate level work with a registered employer in order to stay, only about 4,000 international students were recruited by businesses - thus dispelling the myth that businesses are in desperate need of their skills. Last year just 5,600 were employed by businesses.
Previously, students who stayed on as graduates could work in shops and restaurants if they wished as there were no restrictions on the type of work that could be done. Indeed a Home office study found that only about one third of these graduates were in skilled work. To the extent that the others were working to pay off their fees, their foreign exchange benefit to the UK was reduced.
Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:
“Business demands for the re-introduction of this Post Study Work visa have been shot out of the water by these latest figures. Foreign students are entirely free to stay on for graduate work. It is just that actual demand for them is very limited. Meanwhile, there is virtually no benefit to the UK in having students stay on to work in low skilled jobs to pay off their fees.”
Read the full briefing paper here