• Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Indian student group launches visa campaign

Graduate Route visa allows international graduates the chance to gain work experience for two years after their degree

Photo: iStock

By: Pramod Thomas

ONE of the prominent Indian student representative organisations in the UK began a new ‘Fair Visa, Fair Chance’ campaign in favour of the post-study Graduate Route visa.

The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK, which had originally campaigned for the visa that allows international graduates the chance to gain work experience for two years after their degree, fears the ongoing review of the route would reverse the progress made.

The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has been commissioned to review the Graduate Route visa by home secretary James Cleverly to ensure it is “fit for purpose” and is expected to report by next month.

“The ability to work for two years post-graduation helps international students to earn money to help pay for their degrees and enable some to get valuable work experience as well as to continue to build strong links with the UK,” said Lord Karan Bilimoria, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Students and patron of NISAU UK.

“We are in a global race and have to offer post-graduation work opportunities that are attractive in competing with countries, such as the United States of America, Canada, and Australia. The fear of the removal of the two-year post-graduation work visa is sending out unnecessary and damaging negative messages around the world, and universities are already seeing a huge decline in international students’ applications.”

He also warned that Britain would be “shooting itself in the foot” if the Graduate Route was curtailed given that international students contribute £42bn to the economy.

Since its relaunch in 2020-21 cohort of international students, the Home Office says a total of 213,250 visas have been granted under the route – with Indians consistently dominating as the largest group of students granted leave to remain with 43 per cent of grants last year.

“It is very sad that a mere few years on from the re-introduction of post-study working in the UK, we are having to once again make the case to defend it. The Graduate visa is a key requirement of Indian students and a critical offer of the UK’s international higher education system,” said Sanam Arora, NISAU UK chair and commissioner of the UK’s International Higher Education Commission.

(PTI)

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