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Changes to permission to work for international students

From April 2012, the Tier 1 Post-Study Work Scheme will be closed and 'replaced' by a new provision under Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Workers. Full details have not yet been announced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and may not be released until as late as March 2012. 

There will also be a Student Entrepreneurs category, but there is no further information on this at present.
The information on the new Tier 2 scheme is that applicants must have a job offer from an employer before their student visa expires (currently the length of the course, plus 4 months), and must be paid a minimum salary that is likely to be in the region of £20,000 (or the salary specified in the Standard Occupational Code published by the UKBA). The individual also has to meet points requirements. The employer will not have to apply the Resident Labour Market Test, unlike the main scheme under Tier 2.

Collecting evidence

We are already aware that these requirement may be difficult for some sectors to meet, particularly for SMEs who are not presently licensed as Tier 2 sponsors.  If you have any examples of how these proposed changes may adversely affect your students, please send these to the AGCAS Internationalisation Task Group via Yasmina Mallam-Hassam.  We are keen to submit such evidence via Universities UK to lobby the UKBA on the development of the scheme before April 2012.

Signposting to sources of help
As careers professionals, we are only allowed to give generic information and not advice (pertaining to an individual student). It will be difficult to give definitive information to the new intake of students, particularly those on Master's programmes, who will be due to start this October. Given the current information inferring Tier 2 General as the main route, it may be sensible to include a link to the Tier 2 Register of Sponsors information on your international student pages so that students can target employers who are already registered and also check to determine if an employer of interest is registered to take migrant workers under Tier 2 General. It would also be useful to make them aware of the UKBA Employer Helpline so that if employers need advice regarding the routes to recruiting a non-EEA graduate, they can obtain it from there. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) advice line is also an excellent source of support for international students.
•  Tier 2 Register of Sponsors

•  UKBA Employer Helpline: tel 0300 123 4699 or via email

• UKCISA advice line open from Monday to Friday, 1pm - 4pm: 020 7107 9922
There will also be a talk given by a representative from Laura Devine Solicitors at the AGCAS Biennial Conference on Wednesday 14th September 2011, Securing global talent: the immigration cap and beyond.

Tags: permission to work international students UKBA tier 1 tier 2 internationalisation employer Sector

Created on: 17 August 2011

Last updated: 05 March 2012

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