Thursday, June 13, 2024

UK Should Keep The Two-Year Graduate Visa, According To The MAC Report

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An independent review has concluded that the UK should keep its two-year graduate visa, and dismisses claims that it is being used as a back door by migrants

According to a major independent review, the UK graduate route should remain in place after it was found that there was “no evidence” that it was being widely abused by international students.

The UK graduate visa, which allows international students to remain in the UK for two years after successfully completing a higher-level course, had recently come under criticism from government leaders who argued that it was being used by migrants as a back door into the country via taking “low quality” courses in order to enter low paid jobs. 

However the report, which was conducted by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), found that the two-year visa was “not undermining the integrity of and quality of the UK higher education system.” 

The committee also criticized the government for failing to collect adequate data on the effectiveness of the UK graduate route to meet its aims.

It was discovered that the claims made in a recent Home Office letter—that only 23% of students switching from the graduate route to the skilled worker route in 2023 went into graduate level jobs—were incorrect. 

The MAC also found that the median monthly in come for visa-holders was an estimated £21,000 annually, which was higher that £18,000 cited by the Home Office. 

The report proceeded to argue that visa holders are likely to be net fiscally positive due to their tax contributions, their low healthcare costs, the requirement to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, and the no recourse to public funds restriction.

Additionally, it was found that further restrictions on the UK graduate visa route could lead to the government missing its target of hosting 600,000 international students. 

This is partly because increased restrictions have made the UK a less attractive study destination compared with rivals such as Germany, Canada, and Australia. 

As such, the news is likely to come as a relief to many business schools, which are already at risk of declining international student enrollments due to the new UK ban on visa dependents.  

In response to the report, the government has said that it is “considering the review’s findings very closely” and “will respond fully in due course”.

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