The University of Birmingham’s Chancellor, Lord Bilimoria, has highlighted the importance of retaining the two-year post-study work visa for international students in the UK in a recent interview. Speaking to the media on the sidelines of an education conference in Birmingham, Lord Bilimoria said that the visa policy was crucial to attract and retaining the best international talent and strengthening the UK’s economy and global reputation.
The UK government reintroduced the two-year post-study work visa in 2019, which allows international students to stay and work in the UK for two years after completing their studies. The policy was welcomed by the higher education sector and students alike, as it allowed them to gain valuable work experience in the UK and contributed to the country’s economy.
However, there are concerns that the policy could be reversed, especially in light of the government’s recent immigration reforms, which aim to reduce net migration to the UK. Lord Bilimoria warned that such a move would be counterproductive and would harm the UK’s higher education sector.
“International students are the lifeblood of the UK’s higher education sector. They bring talent, diversity, and innovation to our campuses, and they contribute significantly to the UK’s economy. The two-year post-study work visa is a crucial tool to attract and retain the best international talent, and it must be retained,” Lord Bilimoria said.
Lord Bilimoria also stressed the need for the UK to continue to compete with other countries, such as Australia and Canada, which have more generous post-study work visa policies. He argued that the UK needed to be more welcoming to international students if it wanted to remain a global leader in higher education.
“The UK has some of the best universities in the world, but we cannot take our position for granted. We need to continue to attract the best and brightest students from around the world if we want to maintain our reputation as a global leader in higher education. This means retaining the two-year post-study work visa and ensuring that the UK remains a welcoming and inclusive place for international students,” he said.
Lord Bilimoria’s comments come at a time when the UK’s higher education sector is facing a number of challenges, including declining enrolments from key markets such as India and China, as well as increased competition from other countries. The sector has also been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to significant disruption and uncertainty for universities and students alike.
In response to these challenges, the UK government has announced a number of measures to support the sector, including a £50 million package to support universities affected by the pandemic and a new graduate route visa, which will allow international students to stay and work in the UK for up to two years after completing their studies.
However, Lord Bilimoria and other leaders in the sector argue that more needs to be done to support the sector and to ensure that the UK remains a global leader in higher education. Retaining the two-year post-study work visa is seen as a key part of this effort, as it will help to attract and retain the best international talent and to strengthen the UK’s economy and global reputation.
In conclusion, Lord Bilimoria’s comments highlight the importance of retaining the two-year post-study work visa for international students in the UK. The policy is crucial to attracting and retaining the best international talent and strengthening the UK’s economy and global reputation. As the UK’s higher education sector faces a number of challenges, it is essential that the government and the sector work together to ensure that the UK remains a global leader in higher education.