Indian-Origin UK PM Wants To Stop Foreign Students From Working In UK; Can Impact Indians In UK


Mohul Ghosh

Mohul Ghosh

May 20, 2024


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces a significant challenge as reports emerge of a potential move to restrict or abolish the Graduate Route visa, a lifeline for many international students, particularly from India. According to ‘The Observer’ newspaper, Sunak is encountering resistance from within his own Cabinet, with some ministers vehemently opposing the proposed changes.

Indian-Origin UK PM Wants To Stop Foreign Students From Working In UK; Can Impact Indians In UK

The Graduate Route visa, introduced in 2021, allows graduates to stay and work in the UK for up to two years after completing their degree course, making it a crucial factor in the decision-making process for many Indian students considering higher education in the UK.

Concerns from Various Quarters:
Leading the revolt against the proposed changes are Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and Foreign Secretary David Cameron, among others. These ministers fear the potential consequences of scrapping the visa scheme, both for the reputation of the Conservative Party and the UK’s competitiveness in the global education market. University and business leaders have also voiced their concerns, warning that any curtailment of the post-study offer would make the UK less attractive to overseas students, including Indians. John Foster, Chief Policy and Campaigns Officer for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), emphasized the significant economic benefits of attracting international students to the UK.

Calls for Certainty:
Amidst the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Graduate Route visa, Universities UK (UUK) and other stakeholders have called upon the government to provide clarity and assurance. Vivienne Stern, Chief Executive of UUK, stressed the importance of ending the “toxic” uncertainty caused by the government’s decision to review the visa route. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which recently conducted a review of the scheme, also recommended its continuation, citing its positive impact on the UK’s education sector and economy.

MAC’s Findings:
Professor Brian Bell, Chair of the MAC, highlighted the significant contribution of Indian students to the UK’s higher education system, noting that Indians accounted for a substantial portion of Graduate Route visas issued between 2021 and 2023. The MAC’s findings underscore the vital role of the visa scheme in attracting and retaining international talent in the UK.

Student Advocacy:
Indian student unions, such as the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK, have been vocal in their opposition to any potential restrictions on the Graduate Route visa. They argue that the uncertainty caused by the review process has been disruptive and harmful to students’ futures.

In conclusion, the proposed restrictions on the UK’s post-study visa scheme, opposed by key ministers and stakeholders, risk impacting Indian students’ education choices and the UK’s competitiveness in attracting international talent. The government must carefully consider the implications of any changes to ensure the continued success of the UK’s higher education sector.


Mohul Ghosh
Mohul Ghosh
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