International students in the UK can expect a smoother transition from their Tier-4 student visa to Tier-2 work visas thanks to changes to immigration rules set to be introduced from early January next year, Times of India reported.
The current Tier-2 system, which requires students to wait until they’ve gotten their degree before applying, will reportedly allow students to switch over to the skilled worker visa once they have completed their degree.
“The new rule will enable them to apply for a Tier-2 visa a few months earlier than what would otherwise have been possible,” wrote a newsletter by EY-UK, one of the Big 4 business consultancies.
(Representative image) pic.twitter.com/iz3ZjVKElz
— Times of India (@timesofindia) December 26, 2017
With a Tier-2 work visa, foreigners from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, with a skilled job offer by UK companies are allowed to work and stay in the country for up to five years.
The new rules are expected to allow a longer job search period for students and bypasses the need for students to wait for their thesis to be marked or their degree to be awarded before starting their work visa application.
Currently, the Tier-4 visas allow students to stay for the duration of their course plus a few months after the completion of course, following which they must return to their home country.
Applying for the work visa after obtaining their degrees leave graduates with little time to apply for jobs in the UK as their student visas are bound to expire. According to the UK government’s website, the decision for a Tier-2 visa takes around 8 weeks for online applications or within 10 days under the priority application service.
Brexit a boon for Indian students
Indian students are advised to monitor the impact of Brexit on work visas for international students, according to a counsellor.
It is predicted that competition for jobs in the UK from EU workers will ease post-Brexit, thus giving international students who have graduated from UK universities an edge.
— Craig Richardson (@CraigRichard100) November 30, 2017
After several years of decline mainly due to the UK government’s clampdown on student migration from outside the European Union, the number of student visas granted to Indian nationals have seen its first annual increase since 2010.
UK’s Home Office figures on Nov 30 show a 27 percent rise in the number of long-term study visas approved for Indian nationals, according to Times Higher Education.