The UK Government has launched a new initiative aimed at increasing both the number of international students who come to the UK to study and those who study at overseas branches of UK educational establishments.
In its July 2013 publication, International Education – Global Growth and Prosperity, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills sets out the government’s key aims in relation to international education over the next five years.
The UK immigration system
The Government emphasises that it has no plans to limit the number of genuine international students coming to the UK. In a move that is welcome to the education sector, which has witnessed an unprecedented level of disruption since the introduction of the Points Based System in 2008, the Government has set out its aims to ensure that international student numbers increase.
The majority of international students coming to the UK to study are now required to attend ‘credibility interviews’. We expect the Home Office to continue to rely heavily on this process in order to assess whether or not a student is ‘genuine’. We strongly recommend that Tier 4 sponsors focus on this area of their recruitment process if they wish to increase their international student cohort and benefit from the Government’s new initiatives. We are helping a number of sponsors to implement their growth plans by streamlining and strengthening their procedures.
Post-study work options for international students
As part of its plans to attract more genuine international students to the UK, the Government report highlights the work options that are available to international students once they have finished studying in the UK, including:
- switching into Tier 2 (without the sponsor having to perform the resident labour market test),
- obtaining leave under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
- remaining under the Doctorate Extension Scheme
In collaboration with the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, we recently produced ‘Recruiting International Graduates – A Guide for Employers.’ This widely circulated guide provides further detailed information for employers on the process for hiring international students. We regularly advise both employers and international students on the post-study work options, including the process for employers that wish to obtain a sponsor licence, and relay new ideas and initiatives to our senior contacts in the Home Office. Please contact us if you need assistance.
English language tuition
Carter Thomas has a close relationship with English UK. Its Chief Executive, Tony Millns, has been invited to spearhead the Government’s new English language initiatives outlined in yesterday’s announcement. Mr Millns will lead a working party piloting an international accreditation scheme for English language teaching organisations in two countries, one in Europe and one in Central America. English UK will also work with the British Council and others to look at opportunities presented by increased demand and work to improve delivery of English language training based around the Kazakh national education reform programme. A number of other proposals are also outlined in the publication.
Nichola Carter, head of immigration at Carter Thomas, represented English UK in 2010 successfully ensuring that its 450 members were treated fairly by the Government. We are delighted to see English UK at the forefront of these latest developments.
We are involved in discussions between the education sector and senior sources at UK Visas and Immigration (part of the new immigration service). We are working on a variety of new measures to further enhance the UK’s position as a leading destination for international students and expect further measures to be rolled out during the autumn. If you need assistance or information on any of the matters referred to above please contact us.