Libby Hackett, Chief Executive of University Alliance, features in the Financial Times in a letter calling for a return to post-student work visas.
Sir, You are right to identify that UK universities benefit from being able to tap into the world’s brightest and most committed undergraduates (“Closing the doors to foreign students”, editorial, April 8). Worryingly, though, we are losing international students to competing nations, such as Canada and Australia, due to the UK’s restrictive policy on post-study work visas. Alliance universities (which deliver 50 per cent of all science, technology, engineering and maths courses in the UK) have seen as much as a 50 per cent reduction in overseas students studying Stem over the past two years.
These arbitrary migration targets are harming our economy as well as our universities. Our research has shown that international students want to have the opportunity to undertake in-work placements and to contribute to the UK economy. Graduates should be allowed to stay long enough to put their new skills to use and give back to the UK.
That can be achieved with one simple fix: reintroduce two-year post-study work visas for all graduates from trusted UK universities. This would enable the UK economy to benefit from their skills, without adding to the burden of long-term migration or robbing their home countries of graduate talent.
Libby Hackett, Chief Executive, University Alliance