Graduates entrepreneurs with outstanding ground-breaking ideas would be permitted to stay put in the UK further than their university studies, as the government reacted to disapproval of its new visa regime for overseas students. Immigration minister Damian Green said up to 1,000 places for non-EU students will be made available under the Graduate Entrepreneur Route.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, welcomed the proposal, but said it would only affect “a small number of international students”.
She added that they support the removal of abuse in the visa system but are concerned that an unintended outcome of the changes to Tier 4.
She added “International students at our world renowned universities should not be treated as migrants for the purposes of the government’s net migration figures, since the majority of them leave the UK at the end of their studies.”
Dandridge said the new rules on post-study work “could harm the UK’s international competitiveness and the competitiveness of universities in the international student market”.
Overseas students can at present work in the UK for two years after their course has finished, but tighter restrictions on post-work study will be introduced in April.
From then, only graduates with a job offer from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency at a salary of at least £20,000 will be able to carry on living and working in the UK.
The tightening of the system is part of moves to cut net immigration from about 250,000 a year to the “tens of thousands” by the end of the Parliament.
Green said that it was important that they continue to draw the brightest and the best international students but they have to be more careful about who can come here and how long they can stay.
The Home Office said the new route meant “young entrepreneurs or small company directors will get the chance to stay on in the UK after their studies if they have £50,000 to invest in their business”.
The Home Office added from 6 April, a more selective system will come into effect so only the most talented international graduates can apply to stay in the UK for work purposes.
New rules will come into force to cut abuse of the student visa route, Green claimed.
That means only those graduating from a university, and having a job offer from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency at a salary of £20,000 or more, will be able to continue living and working in the UK in order to benefit the British economy.
The rules are part of a radical overhaul of the student visa system, which will encourage growth – a new Graduate Entrepreneur route will open, with up to 1,000 places for students working on world-class innovative ideas who want to stay and develop them but do not meet the requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.
These will also boost the economy as young entrepreneurs or small company directors will get the chance to stay on in the UK after their studies if they have £50,000 to invest in their business.
These will also ensure students can support themselves – for the first time since 2008, there will be an increase in the amount of money that students and working migrants, as well as their dependents, must prove they have to support themselves financially during their time in the UK.
Moreover, these will help tackle abuse. Restricting work placements to one-third of the course for international students who are studying below degree level will ensure those coming to the UK are here to study not to work
Immigration Minister, Damian Green said: ‘In the past, too many students have come to the UK to work rather than study and this abuse must end. With the introduction of the Graduate Entrepreneur route and the restrictions on student work we are reforming the system to deliver immigration to benefit Britain.’