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Graduate routes are exempt under new UK student visa rules.

Graduate routes are exempt under new UK student visa rules.


The UK government has announced a further crackdown on student visas, including new measures targeting rogue recruitment agents and stricter compliance standards for institutions, but it has stopped short of changes to postgraduate pathways.

The Home Office has said it will continue to review visas that allow overseas graduates to stay for two to three years after completing their studies, citing concerns that they are not attracting top earners who contribute to our economy.

News that the rules will remain in place at least until after the UK general election scheduled for July 4 will come as a relief to universities who feared further changes could cause huge financial damage to a sector increasingly reliant on international fees for survival. no see.

The proposals put forward by the government are as follows:

Additional regulations on recruiting international students, including a new mandatory framework for universities that use recruitment agencies Institutions accepting international students who do not pass visa checks risk losing their sponsor license upon registering or completing a course. Students must meet higher level requirements. Requirements to demonstrate financial independence Limit distance learning to ensure that all international students complete primarily face-to-face courses.

The Home Office said the robust package of measures was aimed at ensuring Britain's world-leading higher education sector was used for education rather than a gateway to immigration, and options to go further were still being considered.

Many of the changes reflect recommendations from a government-commissioned review conducted by the Immigration Advisory Committee, published last week.

This is indicative of bad practices by recruitment agents who are known to exploit student and graduate visa holders by misselling UK higher education.

The Home Office said immediate action was needed as migrants on the student route transitioned directly into the postgraduate route.

The latest developments include a sharp decline in the number of international students in 2022, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, showing a 10% fall in net migration.

Applications to overseas universities have been hit by changes banning masters students from bringing dependents, with the latest figures reflecting only the start of autumn, with many institutions expected to see their annual intakes cut by up to 50%.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said visa applications were falling sharply but more still needed to be done to ensure immigration routes were not abused.

That's why we are cracking down on rogue international agents and strengthening our work across government to ensure international students come here to study, not work, he added.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, who has reportedly opposed further changes, said she was proud of the fact that British universities had a fantastic reputation at home and abroad, which she said was proof that the quality of education they provided was why so many people wanted to study there. In this country.

She added that it is right to strike a balance between controlling immigration and ensuring the UK remains the best place for students from around the world, supporting our best universities and ensuring that the best and brightest students can study in the UK.

Announcing the changes, the government said it was committed to its international education strategy, which sets a target of welcoming 600,000 international students to the country by 2030. This is a milestone that has already been achieved.

Universities England chief executive Vivienne Stern pledged that universities would work hard with the government on other measures announced to ensure they maintain high levels of trust and confidence in how they recruit. He said the news was a huge relief. We support international students.

Given the enormous value that international students bring not only to the universities themselves but to the UK as a whole, it is in all our interests to do so, Ms Stern added. What we need now is a period of stability and a shared commitment to providing a stable and well-managed environment for international students.

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