A new work visa introduced by Boris Johnson’s government will allow international science students to be able to work in the UK for two years after graduating.
The “graduate route” visa – which was abolished by then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012 – will allow international graduates in any subject to be able to stay in the UK for two years to work or look for work.
Government said it hopes the visa will create opportunities for future breakthroughs in science and technology research carried out by international students, who make up half of all full-time postgraduate students in STEM subjects.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The new graduate route will mean talented international students, whether in science and maths or technology and engineering, can study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they go on to build successful careers.
“It demonstrates our global outlook and will ensure that we continue to attract the best and brightest.”
Eligible students will need to have completed a degree from a “trusted UK university” or higher education provider with a track record of upholding immigration rules. They will also need a valid and extant student visa.
After the two years, candidates will be able to switch onto the skilled work visa if they find a job that meets the skill requirement of the route.
The new graduate route will launch for the 2020/21 intake of students to university, meaning those who have completed their studies or are due to complete them next summer will not be eligible.
Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive of UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) said: “The reintroduction of a post-study work route is what the sector has been working towards for seven years; we can’t underestimate the positive impact this will have for future international students.
“However, we do appreciate that this will be disappointing news for students graduating this year or in the summer of 2020.”
The PM announced plans for relaxed immigration rules for scientists in August in the face of a loss of talent that could be caused by a possible no-deal Brexit.