The Government has announced that the Migration Advisory Committee will be carrying out a review of the Graduate Route (Home Secretary unveils plan to cut net migration - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)).
The new Home Secretary, James Cleverly, has recently unveiled a package of measures designed to bring down net migration. One of those measures is that the Migration Advisory Committee, an independent, non-departmental public body sponsored by the Home Office that advises the government on migration issues, will review the Graduate Route “to ensure it works in the best interests of the UK and to ensure steps are being taken to prevent abuse.”
This announcement follows on from a ban on students bringing dependants to the UK except for those on postgraduate research routes, effective from 1 January 2024.
The Graduate Route is for students in the UK who want to work, or look for work, following the successful completion of an eligible course of study at UK bachelor’s degree-level or above. The study must have been with a higher education provider with a track record of compliance. Individuals who successfully obtain a Graduate Visa have permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK. A Graduate Visa allows individuals to: work in most jobs, look for work, be self-employed, continue living in the UK with their partner and children (if they’re eligible), do voluntary work, or travel abroad and return to the UK.
The economic, as well as the broader social and cultural, benefits brought to universities by international students are well known, including an estimated £40bn net economic contribution to the UK each year. The announcement of a review of the Graduate Route will not result in any immediate changes and if changes are made, the effect may not be felt for some time. A likely UK general election in 2024 might also further impact the position.
Meanwhile, Universities UK has commented that the Graduate Route is an essential part of the UK’s offer to prospective students, and that a number of jurisdictions competing with the UK for international student applications have a more attractive offering for global talent.
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