Ending Graduate Visa Route Can be a Huge Setback for UK’s Economy, Would Impact University Sector

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New Delhi: In a significant yet concerning development, the UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAK) has co-authored a report with the ruling Conservative Party think tank Onward to close the graduate visa route. This is seen as a big jolt to Indian students as every year lakhs of students travels to UK to pursue their further studies.

According to sources, the report will be presented in the Sunak Cabinet on Tuesday, 14th May. According to its provisions, every year about 91 thousand Indian students will not be able to get visa admission through the graduation route.

India’s ministry of External Affairs has not confirmed it yet.

However, amid speculation that the graduate visa route will be ended by Britain govt, Sridhar, owner of an overseas education consultant based in Hyderabad- Next step, which provides

services to students and parents for all the major educational destinations like UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA, has expressed concern saying,”It will be a huge setback for UK’s economy if the graduate visa route is ended because they are completely dependent on the Indian students”.

“Majority of the international students are Indians. From the last three years, they have increased tution and health insurance fees. Way back in 2008, the insurance fees was around 10,000-12,000 and even the visa fee was Rs 8000 but now it’s almost 3 lakhs. But if the PSW ( post study work) visa is ended then it would definitely impact the Universities in the UK as they are completely banking on students itself”, he said.

“Last year, UK has removed the dependent visa. Now if the PSW is also removed, universities will be affected big time. Even if the Graduate Visa route is ended, it would be applicable for the new applicants and not for the old ones. “We are just hopeful that this would not be implemented now”, Sridhar told ETV Bharat.

A dependent visa is a type of visa that allows the spouse, children, or sometimes other dependents of a primary visa holder to accompany them and reside in the host country for the duration of the primary visa holder’s stay. The eligibility criteria and rights granted on a dependent visa vary depending on the country and the specific visa regulations.

Sridhar further said that the hefty housing rents, huge increase in cost of living are some of the major issues that prompted the British govt to end the graduate route visa.

Currently around 1 lakh 30 thousand Indian students enter Britain through the graduation visa route every year. Only 39 thousand Indian students will be given visa. It is important to note that the graduation visa route launched in 2021 allows Indian and other international students to live and work in Britain for two years after completing their Masters.

Why the decision to end Graduate route visa?

Students who obtain a graduation route visa strengthen their immigration claim. Because of which , these students get the category of Skilled Worker by getting a two-year investment concession after the study. About 80% of Indian students visits UK to study Medicine,engineering or law. After study, they earn the same salary as a skilled worker during an extended stay. According to British Home Secretary James Cleverley,’ it has been seen that students are using these PSW visas to gain immigration.

There are around 1,40,000 Indian nationals on study visas in the UK, as of 2023.

What is a graduate visa route?

The Graduate visa route is a post-study work visa in the UK for international students who have successfully completed an eligible course at a UK higher education institution. It allows students to stay and work in the UK for up to 2 years (3 years for PhD graduates) after completing their studies, providing an opportunity to gain work experience and explore career opportunities.

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