The United Kingdom has decided to reintroduce the 2-year post-study work visa for international students. This has come as a boost for all international students including Nigerian students. Prior to this, the work visa was revoked in 2012 by the then government, affecting the international student admissions.
According to the latest official higher education statistics, during the 2017/18 a number of 10,540 Nigerian students were enrolled in UK universities, almost 40% fewer than three years ago.
As of 2014/15, there were 17,920 Nigerian students attending university in the UK. Three years later, in the 2017/18 academic year, the UK universities counted only 10,540 students from Nigeria. In other words, it meant that their number decreased largely by almost 40% due to the policy that was scrapped by the coalition government in 2012. May as home secretary said the two-year post-study work visa was “too generous”.
Currently, graduates with bachelors or master’s degrees are allowed to look for work for only four months. From next year all international graduates could qualify for a two-year period to work in the UK, increasing their chances of finding long-term employment after studying.
The new ‘Graduate’ immigration route will be open to all international students who have valid UK immigration status as a student and have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate level or above, at an approved UK Higher Education Provider. The visa will allow eligible students to work, or look for work, at any skill level or subject, giving them valuable work experience at the start of their careers.
According to the new proposals, complete restrictions have been lifted on the kinds of jobs they prefer to pursue. The British High Commission here said that the new ‘graduate’ route will be open to all international students – including those from Nigeria – who have valid U.K. immigration status as a student and have successfully completed a course of study in any subject at undergraduate level or above at an approved U.K. Higher Education Provider.
Boris Johnson, the prime minister, said that the move would allow international students “to unlock their potential and start their careers in the UK”. Alistair Jarvis, Universities UK chief executive, described the announcement as “very positive”.
“Evidence shows that international students bring significant positive social outcomes to the UK as well as £26 billion in economic contributions, but for too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the UK has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students,” he said.
“The introduction of a two-year post-study work visa is something Universities UK has long campaigned for and we strongly welcome this policy change, which will put us back where we belong as a first-choice study destination.”
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