Indian Student Body Launches ‘Fair Visa, Fair Chance’ Campaign in UK

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Indian Student Body Launches ‘Fair Visa, Fair Chance’ Campaign in UK

| Updated: April 5, 2024 17:19

The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK, an organisation representing Indian students in the UK, has launched a campaign titled ‘Fair Visa, Fair Chance’. The campaign, launched on Thursday, advocates for the continuation of the graduate route visa, which allows international graduates to work in the UK for two years after completing their degrees.

The graduate route visa is currently under review by the UK government. NISAU UK, which initially advocated for the visa, is concerned that the ongoing review could reverse the progress made.

UK Home Secretary James Cleverly has commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the Graduate Route visa to ensure it remains “fit for purpose”.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Students and patron of NISAU UK, stated, “The ability to work for two years post-graduation helps international students to earn money to help pay for their degrees and enable some to get valuable work experience as well as to continue to build strong links with the UK.”

Reports suggest that if Indian students in the UK are unable to secure a job within six months of graduating, they may have to end their stay. The UK intends to shorten the post-study visa period for foreign students.

Bilimoria warned that reducing the Graduate Route could harm Britain, as international students contribute GBP 42 billion to the UK economy. He said, “Britain would be shooting itself in the foot,” adding that the fear of the removal of the two-year post-graduation work visa is sending out unnecessary and damaging negative messages around the world.

Since the reintroduction of the graduate route visa for the 2020-21 group of international students, the UK Home Office has granted a total of 213,250 visas for the route.

Sanam Arora, NISAU UK chair and Commissioner of the UK’s International Higher Education Commission, expressed concern that without this pathway, university finances may collapse, impacting both international and domestic students.

The NISAU UK has been invited to present evidence to MAC and plans to share insights from its annual India-UK Achievers Honours programme.

Recent figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 4% drop in applications from India to British universities. However, the Home Office pointed to MAC analysis which revealed that the number of international post-graduate students attending institutions with the lowest UCAS entry requirements has increased by over 250% between 2018 and 2022.

The MAC has called on the UK government to clarify the purpose of the Graduate Route visa. The committee suggests “If its primary objective is to enhance the offer to international students who choose to study in the UK and so increase the number of international students in higher education, then it appears to have been a resounding success.”

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