Home Office changes to international student rules

13 February 2012

Commenting on the Home Office statement of intent regarding changes to study and post-work study requirements for students and workers, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“International higher education students contribute hugely to the academic strength of our universities and they are also worth at least £6.8 billion to the UK each year from their tuition fees and living expenditure alone. Around £2.5 billion of this vital contribution is generated by Russell Group universities.

“Our world-class universities are a major draw but we also know many international students want to consolidate their studies with some work experience in the UK. These students bring unique skills and experience to their employers here and many continue to generate economic benefit to the UK by maintaining their professional links with this country once they leave.

“So we are pleased that the immigration rules will still allow students with a graduate job to work in the UK for a period after completing their studies. It’s vital employers and prospective students understand the UK’s doors are still open to the right people. 

“However, this scheme it is more restrictive than the old post-study work route and we are concerned that some Russell Group courses have already seen a drop in students of up to 30 per cent from India. We urge ministers to show how much the UK values and welcomes high quality international students who make such an important contribution. 

“We welcome the Government’s introduction of its innovative graduate entrepreneurship route and the fact that those setting up businesses can switch more easily into the mainstream entrepreneur scheme. Our universities nurture entrepreneurialism among our first-rate students. Research-intensive institutions provide the critical mass of world-class research and business links that make them the ideal launchpad for the companies of tomorrow. As the Home Office recognises, these graduates and the jobs they can create are a vital part of the wide range of benefits the best international students bring to the UK. With the right support, today’s international students could become tomorrow’s Vinod Khosla [1].” 

Note to editors

  1. Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, did his undergraduate degree in India then did a Masters and MBA in the States. He worked for two years before co-founding Sun Microsystems.

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