AGCAS responds to the re-introduction of post-study work visas

11 September 2019

A step forward for supporting international student employability

AGCAS and its members warmly welcome the return of post-study work visas for international students in the UK. The UK is the second most popular destination in the world for international students to study – hosting a record number of 460,000 international students in 2017/18 – yet the UK’s rate of growth of international student enrollment has fallen significantly behind that of other countries, including the USA, Australia and Germany. International students bring cultural and academic diversity and vibrancy to university campuses across the UK, as well as supporting economic growth and job creation. We hope that the re-introduction of post-study work visas will encourage more international students to study and remain in the UK.

Under the previous restrictive visa regulations, getting a graduate job in the UK was incredibly competitive and difficult for international students. For a number of years, AGCAS members have expressed concern about how to support this cohort effectively. The new ‘graduate route’ will allow any student that has completed an undergraduate degree or above in any subject to qualify for a two-year period to work in the UK, rather than just four-months, increasing their chances of finding long-term employment after graduation.

Abi Gaston and Esther de Perlaky, Co-chairs of the AGCAS Internationalisation Task Group, commented:

“We are delighted to hear the proposal, which will have a huge impact on the support and expanded opportunities we will be able to offer our international students studying in the UK if it is implemented. The extension of the Post Study Work visa has long been at the centre of many discussions around international student support and opportunity, so we very much welcome the decision.”

AGCAS is committed to helping its members support the success of international students at their institution. The work of our Internationalisation Task Group is vital for keeping AGCAS members up to date with legislative changes, signposting resources and identifying and sharing best practice. The October 2019 issue of Phoenix, the AGCAS journal, will explore how HE careers services are supporting international students as they prepare to transition from higher education into employment. This edition aims to highlight the wide range of initiatives targeted at international students delivered at AGCAS member services throughout the UK.

Additionally, AGCAS is undertaking a short research project on behalf of Universities UK International (UUKi) to explore how higher education institutions support international graduate employability through the provision of careers and employability services and by working with UK-based employers to promote and facilitate access to international student talent. The research will aim to provide a snapshot of current activity, examples of innovative and effective practice and sector-wide recommendations for practitioners and institutional leaders in line with Action 5 of the Government’s International Education Strategy

The research is timely given yesterday’s announcement as our members seek to support international students to gain graduate work in the UK for longer and, hopefully, with increased success. Whilst we already have a significant number of AGCAS member services taking part in the research, we would still welcome expressions of interest from institutions from all regions and type of institution, regardless of international student cohort size.

Find out more about AGCAS's research with UUKi