Foreign students in the United Kingdom may face the risk of deportation if they stay longer than six months in the country after completion of their studies.
Currently, international students in the UK can stay on for two years after the end of their education.
The Times of London reports that Suella Braverman, Britain’s Home Secretary, had drawn up a plan to reform the graduate visa route.
Under her proposal, foreign students would have to obtain a work visa by getting a skilled job or leave the UK within six months after the end of their studies.
However, documents seen by The Times on Wednesday reportedly showed that the country’s department for education was strongly opposing Braverman’s proposal.
The education officials fear the proposal could make the UK less attractive to foreign students, who pay more than UK citizens for their courses and were a major source of income for universities.
According to The Times, the files argued that the two-year visa is in line with most of the UK’s competitors, apart from the US which offers a year-long visa.
But a Home Office source reportedly told the paper it was being used as “a backdoor immigration route” by people taking short courses at “less respectable universities”.
The proposal is the latest in Braverman’s plans to cut down migration in the UK.
In 2022, Nigerians accounted for the highest increase in the number of dependants accompanying persons with study visas for the year.
Nigerian nationals also saw the largest relative increase in sponsored study grants compared with 2019, increasing by 57,545 (+686%) to a record high of 65,929, making them the third largest nationality group in the latest year.
For work visas, Nigeria recorded the second highest figure on the list of nationalities who got approval for the latest year.
The report is the latest in Braverman’s “aspirations” to restrict migrants from entering the UK, including changing the law to stop migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats.
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