Business News/ News / World/  ‘Backdoor to immigration’: Suella Braverman planning to cut UK's post-study student visa

As India and the United Kingdom negotiate their Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the Home Secretary of the UK Suella Braverman is mulling over the idea to cut the period of stay allowed for an overseas student under a post-study visa route. Braverman is planning to reform the Graduate Visa route which will require overseas students to obtain a work visa after getting a skilled job or leave UK in 6 months.

The new Graduate Visa route allowed overseas students to stay in the UK and look for jobs and gain experience even without the requirement of a specific job offer. According to reports from UK media, the Department of Education of the UK is trying to block such changes as they feel the move might reduce the attractiveness of the country as a study destination.

The supporters of Braverman's plan argue that the Graduate Visa route was misused by students who take admissions in short courses at "less respectable universities". According to local media, the government sources said that it was used as a backdoor immigration route.

The Department of Education said that the two-year post-study offer in the UK is aligned with most of the UK's competitors and the duration in less only in the United States, which offers a one-year post-study visa.

The development came as India and UK completed six rounds of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). On Sunday, the British Trade Minister in charge of negotiations cleared that the FTA will not include any increase in the number of free movement visa offers for Indians.

Kemi Badenoch, who also visited India in December for the sixth round of FTA talks cleared out that Indians will not get the same deal as Australians in the FTA. UK-Australia FTA allows under 35 people from Australia to live and work in the UK for three years.

UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in its latest release that in 2022, India took over China as the largest cohort of foreign students. Indians were dominating in the allocation of Graduate Visa and accounted for 41% of the total visa granted.

“Our points-based system is designed to be flexible according to the UK’s needs, including attracting top-class talent from across the world to contribute to the UK’s excellent academic reputation and to help keep our universities competitive on the world stage," a government spokesperson said.





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Updated: 25 Jan 2023, 05:19 PM IST
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