Filed under News updateTuesday, 22 March 2011
The UK Border Agency has today been in touch with the REC to discuss proposed changes to student visas. This provided a useful 'heads-up' ahead of the official announcement on this issue by Home Secretary Theresa May.
The REC has welcomed the Government's willingness to listen to business about the importance of retaining graduate talent - whilst at the same time monitoring any impact job opportunities for UK nationals at a time when the jobs market is already hugely competitive.
While the general post-study visa route will end in April 2012, non-EU students graduating with a recognised degree and who have been offered a job paying at least £20k will be able to switch into Tier 2, the work permit route. Employers taking on graduates in these conditions will not be burdened with the time-consuming 'resident labour market test' that has caused delays in the past.
Gillian Econopouly said:
'"While all aspects of the immigration system are being examined in light of the Government's policy to reduce immigration, it is good news that the Government has recognised the need to retain graduate talent through the 'switching' provision. Talented graduates are essential to UK competitiveness and employers must be able to take them on to help their companies grow. This is of course something that could be reviewed once we have built a better pipeline of UK graduates in key shortage areas.".
The REC expressed caution however at the Government's wider approach on student visas.
"It is understandable that the Government is concerned about abuse of the student visa system, but the focus should be to crack down on rogue establishments that bring students in for meaningless courses. Legitimate education providers and employers alike would welcome a greater effort to eradicate such institutions, while the overall cap may damage the ability of credible organisations to attract foreign students."
The REC will continue to articulate the concerns of recruiters and their clients to the UKBA and other Government agencies involved in setting and enforcing immigration policy
Contact: Ed Sexton
Phone: 020 7009 2192