British Government Launch A Probe On Graduate Route Visa

British Government Launch A Probe On Graduate Route Visa

The Home Office has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to conduct a rapid review of the Graduate Route visa, a post-study work option for international students.

The review, requested by Home Secretary James Cleverly, aims to assess the visa route’s effectiveness in attracting and retaining the brightest students while supporting the UK’s higher education sector.

The Graduate Route allows international students to remain in the United Kingdom for two years post-graduation, or three years for PhD graduates, without a sponsor. Eligibility requires successful completion of a degree at a Higher Education Provider and prior permission under the student route.

 For employers, the visa path provides access to talented graduates.

Plans for the review came amid the enforcement of wider measures aimed at restricting access to opportunities in the UK. They include the removal of the right to bring dependents for international students and a significant jump in the salary threshold for skilled worker visas.

Key Points for Investigation

The Home Secretary has suggested five areas the Migration Advisory Committee might look at:

  • Any evidence of abuse of the route, including the route not being fit for purpose.
  • Who is using the route and from what universities did they graduate from
  • Demographics and trends for students gaining a study visa and subsequently accessing the UK labour market by means of the graduate route.
  • What individuals do during and after their time on the graduate route and whether students who progress to the graduate route are contributing to the economy.
  • Whether the graduate route is undermining the integrity and quality of the UK higher education system, including whether it is effectively controlling for the quality of international students.

The Home Office has requested MAC’s report by 14 May 2024. The MAC has already warned that this will substantially limit the quality and quantity of evidence they can provide, raising the issue of whether the Home Office is truly wants to better understand the route or merely looking for a pretext to withdraw it.

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