Thousands of students have been affected by the new visa restrictions introduced last week. The Home Office have made changes to the visa system so that “On 6 April 2012 the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route will close.” Previously under the Tier 1 route, thousands of Indian, Chinese, Arab and other non-EU students took advantage of the visa, by being able to take up work for two years in the UK after the successful completion of their university courses. The change in visa rules comes from a drive from the Conservative led coalition to cut this route of migration.
The Home Office has said “That means only those graduating from a university, and having a job offer from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency at a salary of £20,000 or more, will be able to continue living and working in the UK in order to benefit the British economy,”
Previously India has taken great advantage of the scheme with hundreds of talented individuals finding work in the UK, filling a gap that was thought UK graduates fail to fill. The graduates who secured work in the UK gained high quality work experience which then aided them to further their career prospects elsewhere in the world.
The Conservative Immigration Minister Damian Green said that in the past “too many students have come to the UK to work rather than study and this abuse must end.” However, some universities fear that this move along with the increasingly more stringent rules would deter foreign students coming to study in the UK, of which they contribute around £9 billion per year.
The move to change the rules comes from the government’s election pledge to crackdown on non-EU immigration. In a separate move it has also been announced that it was freezing the annual cap on highly skilled workers for the next two years until 2014.