Should non-EU graduates be able to stay in the UK to work?

Posted on January 31, 2011 by

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On 16 February, Lord Clement-Jones has a question in the House of Lords on:

the criteria for granting Tier 1 Post-study Work visas

We have just responded to a UK Border agency consultation on the student immigration system (read our response here) which included a proposal to scrap this route expressing our concern that a blanket ban on all graduates from taking work in the UK after finishing their course of study would be bad for UK science.

Why might ending Tier 1 Post-study work visas be bad for science?

International students from outside the EU make a huge contribution to UK research, in fact funders in the UK compete with other countries such as the United States, Australia and Canada, to attract them; we want to fund the best, most capable students, wherever they come from because that will help us do the best science.

We’re concerned about restrictions preventing them from staying in the UK to work after they have completed their study as this is the precise point where they will have developed valuable skills we could capitalise on in both our research base and high-tech industries. Driving them away after we have invested in them, rather than enabling them to stay and contribute to the UK’s research base, is not ideal.

Medical research charities are worried about this because they fund a lot of PhD students, spending £32.7 million on 1,274 PhD studentship in 2009/10. Driven by their overarching goal to benefit their patients and supporters, their priority is to get the best value for money from their investments in research and being able to invest in the best people is key to achieving this.

Posted in: Policy