UK study recommends keeping post-study visa for Indian students, benefiting universities

In a commissioned examination by the British government, a startling revelation emerged: Indian graduates are not only bolstering UK universities financially but also enriching the nation’s research sector, largely through their dominance of the post-study visa route.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent body, spearheaded a rapid review of the Graduate Route visa, a program allowing international students to stay in the UK for up to two years post-graduation for employment opportunities and work experience.

The report, released recently, sheds light on the significant role Indian students play in this visa category. They secured a staggering 42 percent of the total visas granted between 2021 and 2023, amounting to 89,200 visas. Such figures underscore the pivotal contribution of the Graduate Route in supporting UK universities financially, mitigating losses incurred in educating British students, and funding crucial research endeavors.

MAC Chair Professor Brian Bell emphasized the importance of maintaining the Graduate Route in its current form, stressing that it does not compromise the quality and integrity of the UK’s higher education system. He further highlighted its role in attracting international students to the UK and fortifying the financial sustainability of universities.

However, amidst these accolades, the report also sounded a note of caution. It called for stricter oversight of international student recruitment practices to thwart any unethical conduct that might undermine the integrity of UK higher education. The recommendations include mandatory registration for recruitment agents, improved data collection procedures, and universities verifying course outcomes for enrolled international students.

Moreover, the report lauded the Graduate Route for diversifying the array of courses offered by universities and broadening opportunities for domestic students. It noted a surge in participation from second-tier institutions outside the prestigious Russell Group universities, signifying a positive trend in education accessibility.

As the UK gears up for forthcoming elections, the report’s findings are poised to influence migration policies, particularly concerning the post-study visa route. It underscores the symbiotic relationship between international students, particularly those from India, and the UK’s higher education landscape, highlighting the need for policies that foster continued collaboration and growth.