Universities defend international student visa

Goldsmiths College Photo: Anna Haswell

Students and academics are being asked to sign a petition to protest against the end of the post-study work visa for non-EU residents.

The government is considering scrapping the visa, which allows international students who have studied at a UK university or college to stay and work here for two years after graduation.

Academics from Goldsmiths, University of London say they are “deeply opposed” to the proposed scrapping, and think the decision could discredit the UK’s reputation abroad. They are urging people to sign the petition.

“Offering students from abroad the opportunity to gain work experience after completion of degree courses in the UK is a huge incentive for many students to study here, and indeed is the reason why many choose to,” they said in a statement.

“Furthermore there are international students currently studying in the UK on the premise of the post-study work option, whom will now be unable to fulfill this promise the sector had offered them. This has obvious moral implications but also discredits our reputation abroad.”

Alex Goldberg, a 26-year-old postgraduate student from Chicago, said the post-study work visa influenced his decision to study for an MA in radio at Goldsmiths: “I came for the course but the visa did make the UK stand out. It gave me a three-year plan.”

“The visa was laid out clearly on the UK border website, it makes it very clear that you can stay here after graduation,” he said.

Immigration Minister Damian Green defended the proposal, saying the current system is being “abused”.

“I believe attracting talented students from abroad is vital to the UK but we must be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay,” he said.

“Our proposals are aimed at a more robust system. Too many students have been here coming to study at below degree level with a view to living and working, rather than studying. We need to stop this abuse.”

If you want to add your name to the petition, email James Haywood at james.haywood@goldsmithssu.org.

If you want to take part in the government’s consultation on the subject see here.

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