Changes to student visas, which kick in April 2012, will prevent abuse of the student visa route and ensure “only the brightest and the best” students can stay and work in the UK, immigration minister Damian Green said recently.
The current post-study work route, which allows international students to work in Britain for two years after finishing their studies, will “close”. However, talented international students graduating from a UK university will still have the opportunity to stay on. But from April 6, they will need a skilled job offer from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency with a salary of £20,000 or more. The change is part of student visa reforms to attract the best while curbing abuse, and which also include:
* A new Graduate Entrepreneur route, with up to 1000 places in the first year of operation 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
* An opportunity for young entrepreneurs or small company directors to stay on in the UK after studies if they have £50,000 to invest
* An increase in maintenance fees to ensure students have enough money to support themselves financially during their stay in the UK
* A restriction on work placements to one-third of the course for international students studying below degree level and not at a university. The time that can be spent studying at and above degree level will now be restricted to a general limit of five years, with exceptions.