The UK government has done away with the post-study work visa in the country. It means that in order to stay in the country students after completing their studies will need a Tier 2 work permit visa and will in-turn need to be earning at least £20,000 per annum. According to the office for National Statistics, there was a 6 per cent fall in student visa applications from people outside the EU in a year ending in March 2016. Applications to study at further education and other institutions fell 16 per cent and likewise, there was a 3 per cent decline in visa applications to study at independent schools during the same period.
Britain’s loss is gain for countries like Australia and the US. Countries like Australia, Canada and the US are providing good settlement options for skilled students, regardless of whether they are from the EU or not. An average university fee in the UK is £10,000 while in the US or Australia, it is as high as £20,000. Many Indians prefer to pay a high education fee in these countries because they get the opportunity to work there. In these countries, preference is given to skills and talent. In the UK, on the other hand, they first check whether the person is from the EU or not.
I spoke to Labour MP and secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Higher Education, Paul Blomfield, who is in all criticism of the current government’s stringent visa policies. He said, “ International students are unambiguously good for our country. They enrich our campuses, they contribute to the cultural diversity of our cities and they contribute economically. We should be actively encouraging more international students to come.”
Sheffield Hallam University’s International Director James Richardson said, “Indian students add vibrancy to the classroom in our universities across the UK. Their commitment to studies is unrivalled, they are among the highest achievers at Sheffield Hallam University. The dramatic decline of students from India studying in the U.K., as a direct result of changes in UK immigration policy, has had a negative impact on the UK university sector and the wider local and national economies. For example, degree programmes, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects struggle to be viable in some institutions without Indian students, potentially denying the opportunity for U.K. students to take these degrees at a time our economy needs STEM graduates.”
I would like to give an example of myself where the UK student policies have affected me directly. I took a loan to study in the UK and went through the rigorous procedure of applying for a Tier 4 visa. Within the gambit of the visa rules, I managed to gain work experience with Manchester United FC and even produced an official video for Special Olympics GB Summer Games. However, now when I am trying to find a stable job in the UK, my applications are being rejected automatically without the organizations even having a glance at my application because I am a Non-EU student.
Organisations that invited me for job interviews turned me down after I told them about my visa status. Companies cannot recruit skilled staff because of the cap on work visas. After spending a fortune to study in the UK, I deserve a chance to get a job experience. I consider myself fortunate to have gained work experience with big organizations whilst at my university but there are many who don’t get this chance. If life is difficult for me then I guess it’s worse for other students who pay a fortune to study here and then get no jobs.
Few days back I received a job offer from Manchester United Supporter’s Trust (World’s biggest sporting trust). Now the organization is considering going through the complicated visa process. If not, I shall find something better around the world.