Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeEducationForeign Students Face Possible Visa Restrictions Based on Grades

Foreign Students Face Possible Visa Restrictions Based on Grades

The United Kingdom is contemplating imposing restrictions on graduate visas for those who fail to meet specific academic standards. As part of a broader plan to reduce net migration, Home Secretary James Cleverly has tasked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) with reviewing the graduate visa, sparking discussions on potential changes to the system.

Concerns and Considerations: A 74% Surge in Two-Year Visas

The current review comes amid a significant increase in the issuance of two-year visas to foreign students, witnessing a 74% surge, with more than 98,000 students benefitting from this post-graduation arrangement. Officials are expressing concerns that the visa might be misused, allowing individuals to enter low-skilled employment or remain in the UK without a job obligation.

The Grading Dilemma: Evaluating Academic Requirements

Chairman of the MAC, Professor Brian Bell, highlighted the absence of specific grade requirements for the graduate visa. The committee is now exploring whether it makes sense to introduce academic criteria, ensuring that students attain a certain grade or level of achievement in their courses. This potential adjustment aims to align the visa system with academic excellence and genuine skill development.

Contemplating Stringent Measures: University and Course Selection

In addition to grade-based considerations, the committee is contemplating whether to impose strict rules on university and course selection. The discussion revolves around whether foreign students should be required to attend specific universities or complete designated courses to be eligible to stay in the UK post-graduation.

Professor Bell clarified that, at present, there are no such restrictions, allowing individuals to either engage in activities or seek employment in the country for the two-year duration. However, the review prompts contemplation on whether a more structured approach is needed to enhance the overall integrity of the graduate visa program.

From Boris Johnson’s Policy to MAC’s Evaluation: The Evolution of the Two-Year Visa

Initially introduced during Boris Johnson’s tenure, the two-year visa faced opposition from the MAC, which suggested a six-month extension post-graduation with an expectation for students to secure employment or leave the country. Professor Bell acknowledged the visa’s attractiveness as a selling point to attract students, but the MAC is now exploring whether limitations should be placed, potentially restricting it to highly skilled graduate workers.

As the MAC assesses the possible changes to the graduate visa system, the outcome could reshape the landscape for foreign students in the UK, emphasizing academic achievements and aligning immigration policies with the nation’s economic and educational objectives.

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