Suella Braverman to limit foreign student stay in UK after graduation

Suella Braverman to limit foreign student stay in UK after graduation

To reduce immigration, the Home Secretary is planning to limit the overall number of foreign students who can remain in the United Kingdom after graduating from university.

Suella Braverman, who was nominated to her position by Prime Minister Liz Truss, has pledged to limit immigration and “significantly reduce” the number of unskilled foreign workers entering the United Kingdom, from 239,000 to “tens of thousands.”

She also wishes to restrict the number of overseas students who are eligible to apply for a graduate post-study work visa, which permits any student who has graduated to remain and work in the United Kingdom for at least two years.

The Times says that the Home Office is considering restricting visa applications to those who have studied in high-demand subject areas, such as engineering.

However, university administrators have criticized the Home Secretary’s idea, stating that it sends the image that the United Kingdom is unwelcoming and hostile to overseas students, who annually contribute £25.9 billion to the economy through fees and spending.

Graduate visas were reinstated in July of last year after former Home Secretary Theresa May eliminated them in 2012, limiting the length of stay for recent graduates to four months.

Since the introduction of the new method, 66,211 international students have been given permission to remain in the United Kingdom, representing 99 percent of the total 66,787 applications.

Visas totaling 28,331 (43% of the total) were issued to Indian citizens, while 7,771 (12%) were issued to Nigerian students and 6,599 (10%) were issued to Chinese graduates.

Indian students constitute the largest group of visa overstaying migrants. Ms. Braverman has stated that she wishes to lower the number of international students enrolled in British universities after a record-breaking number of 486,000 visas were issued in 2017.

Her proposals have been harshly criticized in an open letter to Ms. Braverman signed by the chief executives of four organizations that represent over 150 British universities: Universities UK, GuildHE, MillionPlus, and University Alliance.

International students are the source of nearly 70% of the UK’s education export earnings and bring an average financial benefit of £390 per person across the country, they said, calling the increase in international student numbers a “resounding success for the government and a cause for celebration.”

The letter to the Home Secretary stated, “The harsh rhetoric indicating a need to cut international student numbers is harmful and counterproductive.”

It is likely to have a direct influence on the continued development of one of the United Kingdom’s leading export industries and impede economic progress.

Such rhetoric is also widely reported, delivering the perception abroad that the United Kingdom is unwelcoming and hostile to international students.

Therefore, we ask the government to reaffirm its commitment to the goals outlined in the International Education Strategy and to avoid using language that suggests international students and their dependents may not be welcome in the United Kingdom.

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