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Has the UK closed its doors?

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Recent changes in UK visa policy have caused concern among foreign students. The government has unveiled plans to control immigration by imposing stricter entrance criteria and scrapping the post-study work visa, which had previously given international students the option of living and working in the UK after the conclusion of their studies. For many, this throws their plans for UK study into serious doubt. Hotcourses' Chinese student editor, Tongfei Zhang investigates.

Changes to UK visa regulations are among many international students' top concerns. The post-study work visa (or PSW for short) used to be one of the main attractions to foreign students who wanted to study in the UK – it gave them two years in which to secure employment after their course comes to an end.

However, the current Post-Study Work route will be closed from April 2012, and only graduates who have an offer of a skilled job from a sponsoring employer under Tier 2 of the points-based system will be able to stay to work. See the Home Office website for details.

As the Home Secretary Theresa May said in the government outline:

‘The changes are not to stop genuine students coming here - it is to eliminate abuse within the system. Our stricter accreditation process will see only first-class education providers given licences to sponsor students.

The new system is designed to ensure students come for a limited period, to study, not work, and make a positive contribution while they are here.’

Thousands of visas are expected to be cut following the implication of this new policy, which will inevitably make it more difficult and less attractive for students to pursue study in the UK. Theresa May claimed that the new restrictions on overseas graduates who could work for up to two years in the UK would reduce by 20,000, with up to 80,000 fewer coming to Britain each year.

A statement of changes has been released, outlining how the student visa will be reformed from April 2011. For details, please visit the UKBA website and download related documents in the right column.


Further reading....

Read about more recent updates to UK immigration and how changes to starting salaries will affect UK visa applications.

‘Why study in the UK?’

‘Applying for a UK student visa’

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