It will be a very tough time for foreign students in the UK, and their Plight has only been made worse by home secretary Theresa May’s recent announcement of changes to the immigration rules.
May states that universities should ““develop sustainable funding models that are not so dependent on international students” , in a recent confidential Letter and business secretary Sajid Javid told to BBC that he wants to break the link between studying and working in the UK.
The government has been trying to make it more difficult for international students to stay in the UK after completing their studies. And it is a part of its failed plan to cut net immigration to below 100,000 per year and reduce visa fraud.
The First and most significant step in this direction was the scrapping of the post-study work visa in 2012. That was an opportunity for non-EU students to stay and work for up to two years after graduation in the UK Moreover, international students started to face difficulties by an NHS charge for hospital treatment this year on top of paying university tuition fees.
Most of the Medias are reporting that all international students will be licked out as soon as their course finishes because of a new rule, this isn’t the case. This New rule only applies to students in further education colleges, not universities. In fact, the new rules differ in several ways depending on whether you are studying at a university or a college.
Changes affecting international students at UK universities
The most significant change is, students will need evidence of significantly more savings on arrival.The amount of money which they need to get the admission in universities will increase from November.it will be the same for the students who extending the visa from UK and the students who coming for the first time in UK. Now international students has to show they have enough money for course fees and living costs for either two months –if they have an “established presences or nine months.
However, the established presence position is being removed. So, all students will have to show they can support themselves for up to nine months or full length of their course. For instance, A PhD student in UK and needing to extend for nine months will have to show they have £11,385 in the bank rather than the current £2040.
From 3 August, students wanting to extend their general visas must be moving up a level on the National Qualifications Framework. Those hoping to extend their studies at the same level will only be able to if their proposed course is linked to their previous one, or if it supports their career aspirations, as determined by their university. So, for example, you won’t be able to do a BA in English if you already have one in sociology. Applicants for PhD or doctoral qualifications can continue at the same level.
Moreover, the minimum salary requirement for tier 2 visas is likely to increase. Now the government’s Migration Advisory Committee of UK is reviewing tier 2 visas – the most common route by which international students stay and work in the UK .If the International students need to stay and work with a tier 2 (general) visa after their studies, an international graduate’s employer must currently pay at least £20,800 and sponsor a work visa and this minimum salary requirement will be rising. A small number of international students may be able to stay and work in the UK by other means, such as a tier 1 (graduate entrepreneur) visa, a tier 5 (temporary worker) visa, a tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa or a tier 1 (investor).
Spouses’ and dependents’ rights to work in the UK will be restricted. Most international students below master’s level are already banned from bringing dependents. But international postgraduates can currently bring spouses and other dependents if their course lasts a year or more and the students who are fully sponsored by their government for a course longer than six months as well. However, Home secretary May has circulated proposals to ban dependents from being employed in low-skilled jobs, according to The Times. This change could disproportionately affect science and technology departments, as around 47% of students on post graduation Stem courses are international students.
Changes for international students at further education colleges
Students will not be able to extend their visa or switch to a work visa while they are staying in the UK. From November, tier 4 (general) students at colleges will have to apply from outside the UK. Government creating barrier to further study or employment especially for the students who are studying in colleges.
The most significant thing is they won’t be able to extend their studies in the UK unless they are registered at an institution with a formal link to a university. This comes into force on 12 November and could limit students’ progression from colleges to universities.
Those at publicly funded FE colleges will be banned from working part-time. Now students who doing courses in FE colleges can currently work for up to 10 hours per week and for an unlimited time outside term time. The new rule will apply to students who apply for their tier 4 visa on or after 3 August, but won’t apply retrospectively to students already here. International students at private colleges lost this right in 2011.
Currently students who are getting admission in FE colleges have the visa for 3 years, but study visas at FE level will be cut from three years to two. The government says the change, which comes into force on 12 November, will help ensure academic progression. But some FE courses can run for more than two years, and this change could reduce the number of qualifications students are able to gain while in the UK.
However, International students have some powerful supporters from government.
Within the government, Chancellor George Osborne is the big supporter of International students .He is the person who welcoming international students than May. In January he blocked her plan to expel foreign students upon graduation, allegedly warning it would damage the economy.As deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg was also against May’s plan when it was first floated last year. He called for international students to be removed from immigration targets and urged the government to adopt a flexible approach to student visas.Business leaders such as Sir James Dyson have spoken out against May’s stance on foreign graduates. Dyson says it is difficult enough getting skilled young engineers through the visa system already, without further tightening of the immigration rules.
Universities have condemned the rule changes. Vincenzo Raimo, pro vice-chancellor of the University of Reading, highlights the contradiction between the government’s long-term plan for economic growth and its tough stance on immigration and also Professor Paul Webley, director of Soas University, has also criticized the plans, saying: “International students bring money and – if they stay – talent to the UK that the country would not otherwise attract.”