The Academy of Social Science and its Campaign welcome the government’s announcement of a two-year post-study work visa for international students

12 September 2019

The Academy of Social Science and its Campaign for Social Science welcome the government’s announcement that it will reintroduce the two-year post-study work visa for international students.  International students play an integral role in the health and vitality of the UK higher education sector and contribute greatly to the UK economy during, and after, their studies.

The visa significantly improves the duration of stay offered in the government’s Immigration White Paper, and will be available to all international under- and post-graduate students beginning their studies from the 2020/21 academic year, who graduate from a reputable higher education institution. It will also allow international students to transfer to a ‘skilled work visa if they find a job which meets the skill requirement of the route.’

Significantly, and unlike the new fast-track Tier 1 visa for scientists, this post-study work visa will apply to those coming from all disciplines of study – whether from STEM, the social sciences, or the arts and humanities.

As the Academy’s Senior Policy Advisor, Dr Ashley Lenihan, notes:

‘The reintroduction of the two-year post-study work visa will go a long way to creating the type of welcoming environment needed to attract the best and brightest international talent to our shores, while ensuring the UK economy and society benefit from all they have learned while they study here. Many international students bring with them important quantitative skills for which there is a significant skills-gap in the UK. Our recent Positive Prospects report shows just how important it is that all disciplines – including the social sciences — have access to a pipeline of such talent if we are to retain a world-class research base after Brexit. This announcement also crucially means that UK companies and universities will be better able to recruit and retain a whole new cadre of post-graduate students with the combination of quantitative skills and social science knowledge needed to address important societal projects and issues, like the Grand Challenges.’