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UK review of graduate visa process worries Indian students

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A rapid review of the UK government’s study pathway, which allows international students to remain unsponsored in the UK for two years after graduating, or three years for PhD students, is currently being carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and a report is awaited. to be released by May 14, 2024.
The graduate pathway, which launched in July 2021 as part of the UK government’s international education strategy to attract international students, has helped attract more than 600,000 international students and more than €60 billion in the UK economy between 2019-20 and 2023-24. according to Universities UK, an organization which represents universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
And unsurprisingly, the fast-track review ordered by the UK government is a source of concern for Indian students already in the UK and those planning to go later this year.
“We have already seen a significant impact on Indian students due to changes in dependent rules and the uncertainty caused by the graduate pathway review. Entries in January this year saw a very significant drop of around 40%, causing widespread concern in the UK higher education sector. We heard at the India UK Education conference in London last month how worried the sector was. This is about the future of UK-India relations if the graduate route is removed,” said Sanam Arora, president of the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (Nisau), a British organization representing students, alumni and young professionals of Indian origin. India time.
Many UK higher education experts believe that when the MAC presents its examination to the UK Home Office in May 2024, it is likely that graduates’ journeys will be disrupted.
“This remains speculative, but what we are hearing and fearing is that sheer uncertainty is causing Indian students to look to other countries. I expect a further decline in the number of students choosing to come to the UK in 2024 and even 2025. And if the higher education route is removed or made less attractive, I think we will see a decline significant in number,” Arora said.
Although the drop in the number of Indian students choosing to go to the UK could be partially mitigated by restrictions put in place by other countries such as Canada; but it doesn’t look great for the UK and it’s not a good outcome for Indian students who want access to both the world-class education that UK universities offer and work experience real, believes Arora.
A study by Nisau, which had previously successfully campaigned to bring back the post-study work visa to the UK, shows that for 70% of Indian students, a post-study work visa is the main determining factor their choice of study destination.
They value the opportunity to gain practical work experience for a few years, which will then allow them to repay some of the expensive loans many take out to finance expensive international education.
“Indian students value not only academics but also tangible employability outcomes. If the UK wants the best and brightest to come from India, it must ensure that its supply remains attractive – the graduate pipeline must remain and vigorous efforts must be made to match labor demand – labor, where many regions are experiencing shortages, to supply. qualified British international graduates,” Arora said.
Nisau calls on the UK government to remove international students from net migration targets. “Students stay in the country for a temporary period for a defined study objective; and therefore should not be considered “immigrants”. This means we will report immigration numbers more accurately and stop blaming international students for problems they did not cause,” Arora said.
Nisau recently announced two partnerships to address the biggest concerns of Indian students in the UK: employability and accommodation. Strategic partnerships with two organizations – Leap and University Living – will create an India-UK Employability Center to address the pressing employability challenges faced by Indian students in the UK, while helping accommodation will help find safe and comfortable accommodation, one of the main concerns of students. they will face when they land in the UK.



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