The UK's recent updates to its immigration system, especially the changes in relation to International students, are a very welcome move.
From 2021, a student who has completed their master's degree or PhD has the right to apply for a post-study work visa. For a master's student the duration of the visa is for two years, while PhD students get three years to apply for employment anywhere in the UK. Last year, official assessments stated that approximately 36,000 international students came to study in the UK and that number can only multiply with this sweetener.
The changes will also help balance the fallout from the Covid-19 lockdown crisis, which have undoubtedly impacted the study and travel plans of international students, from India and other countries. The lockdown related uncertainty is forcing many a student from India to either postpone or cancel their plans to come to study in the UK.
International students have concerns linked to online education, travel restrictions and of course social contact. A recent report by the authorities highlighted how this will significantly impact the universities who are dependent on the fees paid by these overseas students, which will result in many relying of state help and others even pushed into bankruptcy in the worst case scenario.
Most overseas students would like an opportunity to complement their recently acquired qualification with real world experience and the post-study work visa will be a key differential advantage when Indian students are choosing between destinations such as the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.
In a globalised world, the demand of the UK's best-in-class R&D facilities is fulfilled by arguably the top PhD brains, many of whom are Indian students. Therefore, what we have here is a prime example of? a win-win situation for all stakeholders. A fair amount of these PhD students also go onto teach at UK universities, further benefitting the entire ecosystem.
Today, one only has to look at the names dominating the senior management of some of the world's best-known multinationals to gauge the potential quality and aspirational nature of Indian students. Needless to say, it is to the equal advantage of the UK and India to firmly attract and retain the top talent from India at British universities to strike many future win-win partnerships.