The government has announced plans to change UK immigration rules to make the process of seeking work in Britain simpler for international students, graduates and researchers.
Revealed as part of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget, the changes include plans to allow overseas students to apply for a skilled worker UK visa as soon as they have successfully completed their course rather than having to wait for their degree to be presented.
Specifically, the Budget stated that the government would change UK immigration rules to allow any researchers endorsed via the exceptional talent visa to apply for settlement after just three years.
Red tape will also be reduced with regards to the hiring of international researchers with the aim of allowing Britain’s research councils to sponsor them.
It is hoped that these changes would allow a student to move to a Tier 2 work permit as soon as their final exam has been completed rather than waiting for their degree to be delivered. This is thought to be particularly beneficial to master’s students, who can sometimes wait a number of months before their degree is awarded.
The alterations to be made to the exceptional talent visa scheme will also reduce the current five-year wait for settlement eligibility to three years, which it is hoped will encourage continued contributions to the UK from “promising future leaders”.
The changes have already been welcomed by a Universities UK spokesman, who suggested that such positive changes to the student recruitment process could make the shift from study to work a lot smoother.
“In the months ahead, we would like to see the government go further and commit to a strategy for growing international student numbers,” he said.