UK makes it easier for students to shift from study visa to skilled worker visa

Posted on December 27, 2017

The Government of the United Kingdom announced new plans wherein international students will find it easier to switch from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 skilled worker visa while residing in Britain. The waiting time of getting the approval of their graduation is now cut down. This means that no sooner than they complete their course of study, they can apply for a skilled worker visa. Otherwise, in the current system students have to wait for their results and prove they have passed the exam to apply for any further work visa. A statement in the Budget documents states this is an initiative to support the objective “make the UK more welcoming”.  It is also believed that this change could be a measure Government took up after several Universities put pressure on the Home Office concerning the tough rules that are hindering right caliber to stay back in the United Kingdom.

How it would make a difference?

Since the elimination of Tier 1 Post Study Work Scheme in 2012, students on Tier 4 visa experienced great difficulties in staying back to work after their study. They were unable to shift onto a Tier 2 visa because most of them were not graduated yet and their Tier 4 visa was nearing its expiry. Now, this relaxed rule will certainly hasten the process for students applying for work opportunities in the United Kingdom after their course of study. Simultaneously, it will reduce the hurdles of research councils and related organization in recruiting foreign researchers or team members. It will give them a way to retain and offer sponsorship to candidates which they belief shall be an asset to their organization on a longer run.  

While this plan definitely brings great relieve for students who wish for a long-term career in the UK, the employers are bind to several constraints in hiring candidates on this visa. Firstly, they must demonstrate that they are unable to find a reliable candidate in the local market to fill the respective position; involving a waiting period of twenty-eight days. The employer then must obtain a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (which generally takes a processing time of 30 days).

Moreover, the employer shall estimate the higher experienced worker rate at a minimum of £30,000 per year and pay a minimum £364 per year to the selected candidate. Another option is to pay or £1,000 per year as the immigration skills charge for bigger business houses. On the completion of the process, candidates residing on the Tier 4 visa must return to their home country and apply for Tier 2 visa– confirms the official website.

 Universities of UK issued a statement expressing their support to this initiative. They termed that they would step forward to hiring staff and also contribute to hastening the process of migration of candidates from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa.  It is said that the Universities expect the government to take a step further in the coming months and work on strategies that would boost the number of international students in the UK. 

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