Plans for non-EU graduate students to leave the UK, once their courses and visas have expired, have been halted.
In December 2014, Theresa May, the UK home secretary, proposed plans for “zero net student immigration” in the UK, arguing that this would be part of a fair immigration policy. The plans (initially set out in the Conservative Party Manifesto of 2010) stated that any non-EU student at a UK university would be required to leave the UK, immediately upon completion of their degree. Any universities and institutions failing to enforce this policy would be penalised.
These plans have been halted, for now, due to resistance from the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, with support from the former UK universities minister, David Willets, and inventor Sir James Dyson. They argue that the benefit to the UK economy, of attracting talented researchers from around the world, outweighs the negatives of increasing immigration.
The current rules stipulate that students have 4 months after graduation to apply for a graduate job that pays £24,000 per year. This looks set to remain the case for the time being, but it is unclear whether May’s plans have been buried completely or if they’ve just been delayed. Clearly this is a complex set of issues at a time when governments, on one hand, are being forced to control immigration to control public spending, and on the other hand recognise the need to import talent that not only supports the higher education “industry”, whose research-based innovation could drive economic growth.
We’re interested to hear from the Naturejobs readers about the potential impacts of this policy. So, please vote in our poll to let us know if you think this policy should go through and in the comments, please provide your reasons and answers to the questions below:
- Are you a non-EU student in the UK? What was your experience of applying for a job here? Would a proposal like this make you think twice?
- Are you a non-EU student thinking of coming to study in the UK? How would this proposal affect you?
- Are you an existing UK or EU student studying in the UK? What do you think about this proposal?