Foreign students will be allowed to stay in the UK for longer after their degree ends in a bid to boost the post-Brexit economy by £35 billion, the Government has announced according to a report by Telegraph Uk.
International students are currently only permitted to remain in the UK for up to four months after completing their studies under rules that were introduced by Theresa May when she was the Home Secretary.
But now their post-study leave period will be extended to six months for undergraduate and masters students and a year for doctoral students.
The move, which was initially proposed in the Immigration White Paper in December last year, also seeks to increase the number of international students in the UK to 600,000 by 2030.
There are currently 460,000 foreign university students in the UK, generating £20 billion per year through education exports – which includes income from international students, English language training and education technology solutions being sold worldwide.
The strategy, announced today by Education Secretary Damian Hinds and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, also looks at ways of supporting international students into employment.
The announcement is a step away from the reforms introduced by the Home Office in 2012, when Mrs May scrapped the post-study work visa which had allowed non-EU students to stay in the UK and work for up to two years after graduation.
Professor Dame Janet Beer, president of Universities UK, welcomed the new approach saying it “sends a strong message of welcome.”
She said: “I strongly welcome the publication of this strategy as a signal of a change in direction.
“International students contribute a huge amount to the UK, not only economically but also by enriching the international education environment in our universities for all students.
“We particularly welcome steps to improve the visa regime. We would like the government to go further and extend this opportunity to at least two years and we will continue to urge them on this point.”
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “The UK’s education system is world-leading and its reputation is the envy of many countries around the globe.
“As we prepare to leave the EU it is more important than ever to reach out to our global partners and maximise the potential of our best assets – that includes our education offer and the international students this attracts.”