MAC recommends easing processes for hiring international students

  • United Kingdom
  • 09/17/2018
  • Bal Global

What is the immigration news?

The United Kingdom’s Migration Advisory Committee has proposed changing visa processes to make it easier to hire international students. The proposal was one of several included in a 117-page report issued this week.

Key points:

• Impact on processing: The proposals would reduce end-to-end processing times for some students by allowing Tier 4 student visa holders to apply for a Tier 2 work visa as soon as they have a job offer.

• Who is impacted: Employers and international students who have completed their university coursework in the U.K.

• Procedures: The recommendations would make it easier for companies to recruit and hire Tier 4 students who are completing their coursework or who have done so in the past two years.

• What to watch: The government will now review the MAC’s recommendations and establish its position in response to the MAC’s findings.

Additional information: Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd commissioned the MAC in 2017 to assess the impact of international students in the U.K. The commission subsequently issued a call for evidence and based its recommendations in part on the responses stakeholders provided. The MAC recommended that the government:

1. Retain its policy of not placing a cap on the number of international students in the U.K.

2. Work with the education sector to increase the number of internationals students.

3. Continue to include international students in the net migration target.

4. Retain its current policies on family dependent rights and student work rights.

5. Widen the window for applying to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa, making it possible to apply for a Tier 2 visas as soon as a job offer is made.

6. Increase the post-study leave period to six months for all master’s students, provided that this change is deemed appropriate after continued study.

7. Incorporate the 12 months leave to remain for students who have completed their Ph.D. into their original visa duration.

8. Grant Tier 4 students who meet at least Level 6 qualification a two-year period after the completion of their coursework during which they may submit an out-of-country Tier 2 visa application under the current rules for switches from Tier 4 to Tier 2.

The MAC declined to endorse the idea of introducing a separate post-study visa program, saying it would drive up demand for short degrees in order to retain temporary working rights—a point that the committee’s chair, Professor Alan Manning, acknowledged would be disappointing to the education sector.