UK’s Indian Student Body Launches Campaign to Protect Post-Study Work Visa

by Antariksh Singh

In a bid to safeguard the interests of international students, particularly from India, one of the UK’s leading Indian student representative organizations has launched a new campaign named ‘Fair Visa, Fair Chance’. The initiative is geared towards advocating for the continuation of the post-study Graduate Route visa, which has been instrumental in providing opportunities for international graduates to gain work experience in the UK after completing their degrees.

The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK initiated this campaign amid concerns over the ongoing review of the Graduate Route visa by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), commissioned by UK Home Secretary James Cleverly. The fear among stakeholders is that this review might lead to alterations that could undermine the progress made in facilitating international students’ transition into the UK workforce.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Students and a patron of NISAU UK, emphasized the significance of the Graduate Route visa in attracting talent and maintaining competitiveness in the global education landscape. He highlighted the potential repercussions of retracting this visa scheme, citing the adverse impact on international student applications and the UK economy, which greatly benefits from the contributions of international students.

The statistics provided by the Home Office underscore the popularity of the Graduate Route visa, with over 213,250 visas granted since its relaunch for the 2020-21 cohort of international students. Notably, students from India constitute the largest proportion of beneficiaries, reflecting their strong reliance on this pathway for post-graduation opportunities in the UK job market.

Sanam Arora, Chair of NISAU UK, emphasized the prolonged efforts invested in reinstating the Graduate Route visa and underscored its pivotal role in sustaining the financial viability of UK universities. Arora highlighted the interconnectedness between international and domestic students, emphasizing how the absence of international students could adversely affect not only the financial health of universities but also impact the quality of education and research.

The ‘Fair Visa, Fair Chance’ campaign serves as a rallying call to preserve an essential component of the UK’s higher education system, crucial for fostering global partnerships and nurturing diverse talent pools. As stakeholders await the outcome of the MAC review, the advocacy efforts led by NISAU UK underscore the imperative of upholding policies that promote inclusivity, innovation, and economic prosperity in the UK’s education sector.

Antariksh Singh

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