Ministers within the Department for Education have regular discussions with the Home Office on ways to ensure the UK remains an attractive study destination, and the UK already has a strong offer for overseas students who graduate in the UK. International graduates can remain in the UK to work following their studies by switching to several existing visa routes, including Tier 2 (skilled worker) visas.
As you will be aware, the Immigration White Paper, published in December 2018, proposes increasing the post-study leave period for international students following completion of studies to 12 months for those completing a PhD, and to 6 months for all full-time postgraduate and undergraduate students at institutions with degree awarding powers. These proposals go beyond recommendations set out in the Migration Advisory Committee’s report and will benefit tens of thousands of international students. During the Home Office’s 12-month engagement programme on the Immigration White Paper, business and stakeholders from a wide range of sectors, including the Higher Education sector, will be able to feed in their views on white paper proposals.
In addition, the International Education Strategy, published on 16 March 2019, sets out actions to continue to provide a welcoming environment for international students, and includes our ambition to increase the number of international students we host to 600,000 by 2030. One of the actions within the strategy includes considering where processes could be improved to improve the visa experience for international students.