A few months ago we wrote lamenting the fact that international students who have successfully graduated face a difficult struggle in getting a suitable job and staying on in the UK. They can only stay for a few months after their student leave expires and after that, if they have not found a job, they have to return home or otherwise find themselves on the wrong side of the immigration law.
But we also predicted that, with a change of government ministers, there might be a change in the immigration outlook for students.
And so, it has proved. Anyone who reads the newspapers will know that we now have a new Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) and a new Home Secretary (Priti Patel). Everybody knows that the Prime Minister and Home Secretary, working closely together, determine immigration government policies, and they have come up with something that was widely predicted – a new post-study work visa.
Some will remember the old Tier 1 Post-Study Work visa, which was abolished in 2012. This visa enabled graduate students to stay on in the UK for two years and entitled them to work. It helped them (at least in some cases) to find a suitably skilled job.
It seems that the new visa, which is supposed to come into operation next year, will be something similar, although we do not know full details yet.
This is of course good news for students, but the fact is that there are limited opportunities for students to find suitably skilled jobs. The most obvious vehicle is the Tier 2 skilled worker visa but this is a visa route that has been somewhat tightened up in the last few years, both for visa applicants and for Tier 2 sponsors.
So even with the resurrection of the post-study work route things are not going to be easy but at least students will have more of a chance to research the jobs market, to gain work experience, and to apply for jobs.
If you would like advice about switching from student leave to a visa that allows working we at RSL-LAW Solicitors can advise you.