Japa: UK advised to retain two years post-study visa for foreign students

The Migration Advisory Committee has proposed that the United Kingdom’s Graduate route visa’s two-year- validity should be maintained.

It, however, proposed an extension for PhD holders – recommending three years.

The committee insisted that it found no significant abuse of the Graduate route but raised concerns about recruitment agents misleading international students.

A Graduate visa permits applicants to stay in the UK for at least two years after successfully completing a course.

This decision comes amidst heightened anticipation and speculation regarding the future of post-study opportunities for international students.

The committee’s decision is contained in a report titled “Rapid Review of the Graduate Route” from Asset Manager dated May 2024, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday

In the report’s foreword, written by Prof. Brian Bell (Chair); Prof. Dina Kiwan; Prof. Sergi Pardos-Prado; Dr Madeleine Sumption MBE; and Prof. Jo Swaffiel, MAC noted that “After reviewing the evidence, our conclusion is clear. The Graduate route has broadly achieved and continues to achieve, the objectives set by this government. We therefore recommend that the route remains in place in its current form.”

They also recommended mandatory requirements for universities to ensure transparency and protect the integrity of the UK Higher Education system.

“The Migration Advisory Committee concluded that there is no substantial evidence of significant abuse of the Graduate route, defined as deliberate non-compliance with immigration regulations.

“However, they express concerns regarding the involvement of recruitment agents, particularly in certain markets, who may provide misleading information to prospective international students.

“Despite the introduction of a voluntary framework by the sector to address these concerns, the MAC questions its effectiveness, citing the lack of incentives for agents to adhere to best practices compared to universities.

“They recommend that the government consider implementing mandatory requirements to ensure good practice and advocate for universities to publish information on their use of agents to enhance transparency.

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