Most people in the UK believe international students should be allowed to stay in the country for two or more years after graduation, a new poll has revealed. The survey results were released by Universities UK (UUK) as it called on the government to allow foreign graduates to stay on for up to two years after completion of their courses, to match the policy of rival nations such as the US, Canada and Australia.
The government’s decision to abolish post-study work visas in 2012 is widely seen as having choked demand from students in some countries. The move was seen as a particular factor in the dramatic decline in the number of Indian students coming to the UK.
UUK, which was set to hold its annual conference at Sheffield Hallam University on September 4-5, commissioned ComRes to carry out polling on public views on international students, interviewing 4,302 adults online in the UK. Those surveyed were presented with details of post-study work regimes in Canada and Australia and asked to select from a range of options what they considered to be “the most appropriate time period” for students to remain in the UK to work beyond graduation.
Fourteen percent said “less than one year”, but 20 percent said one year, 21 percent said two years, 21 percent said three years and 11 percent said more than three years. And 74 percent of those polled agreed with the statement that “when international students graduate from UK universities, it is better if they use their skills here and work in the UK for a period of time in order to contribute to the economy rather than returning immediately to their home country after completing their study”.
UUK, which bills post-study work as key to making the UK more attractive to overseas students, says its proposal for a new type of visa “would allow a wider range of employers — in all parts of the UK — to benefit from access to talented graduates from around the world, including small and medium employers who do not have tier-2 sponsorship licences, usually due to the high costs and bureaucracy involved”.