UUK welcomes student visa rethink

Government ministers have announced changes to student visas, reversing a policy implemented in 2012

Universities UK (UUK) has welcomed a government decision to scrap Theresa May’s international student visa restrictions.

Under laws introduced in 2012 by then-home secretary Theresa May, overseas students had to leave the country four months after completing their studies.

International students will now be allowed to stay in the UK two years after graduating.

Evidence shows that international students bring significant positive social outcomes to the UK as well as £26 billion in economic contributions
– Alistair Jarvis, Universities UK

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of UUK, said: “The introduction of a two-year post-study work visa is something Universities UK has long campaigned for and we strongly welcome this policy change, which will put us back where we belong as a first-choice study destination.”

The proposals mean there will be no cap on numbers and no restrictions on the sorts of jobs students can apply for.

“Evidence shows that international students bring significant positive social outcomes to the UK as well as £26 billion in economic contributions, but for too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the UK has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students,” Jarvis said.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said the UK’s research and development sector relied on “being open to the brightest and the best from across the globe to study and work in the UK”.

“That’s why we’re unveiling a new route for international students to unlock their potential and start their careers in the UK,” Johnson said.