The UK’s world class universities have always been the most sought after study abroad destination for Indian students. Their academic excellence and persistent top ranks globally make the UK one of the most attractive places for pursuing higher education and building careers in all of Europe. In addition, the recently introduced UK post study work visa has added to this popularity especially amongst the students aspiring to study STEM courses in the UK.
According to available records a vast majority of Indian students heading to study in the UK over the past ten years have chosen STEM courses for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. In an effort to promote the country’s expertise in STEM related fields and to attract global talent for research and work, the UK government has relaxed its post study work visa rules for international graduates and postgraduates studying in the UK.
What are the provisions of the new UK post study work visa for graduates?
All international students who will start their undergraduate courses for the academic year 2020/2021 are eligible for the 2-year post study visa permit. This means that unlike earlier, international students will now be able to stay back in the UK for upto two years after the successful completion of their graduate course. In this time students will be allowed to look for work opportunities within the country and gain valuable work experience.
The post study work visa is applicable to all graduate students studying courses at any of the government approved UK higher educational institutes. The UK is home to more than 200 public universities together in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The new PSW is a very positive policy change by the Boris Johnson government aimed at retention of global talent in the UK and giving a major boost to the UK economy. The 2-year post study work visa has been reintroduced in the UK after it was revoked in 2012 resulting in a fall in the number of international students in the UK. After the announcement of the new PSW, there has been a significant increase in the number of applicants due to the many advantages, such as:
- Students are given residence and work permit even after completion of their course
- Students can start an international career in the UK
- Not many other countries in Europe have such liberal student work visa policies
- There is a better chance for a smooth transition to the general Tier 2 work visa after the 2-year PSW period
- STEM graduates will get better opportunities to continue their postgraduate studies at the research oriented UK universities
Impact of the 2-year PSW on STEM graduates studying in the UK
Last year the UK government relaxed the work visa rules for highly skilled professionals and scholars interested in studying or working in the UK. This included removal of the cap on the number of work visas granted to researchers and PhD level scholars for work and research in the UK. This coupled with the creation of a fast track route for scientists paved the way for a smooth transition of highly skilled professionals to the Tier 2 UK work visa.
However, from 2020 onwards, work visa relaxation will also be applicable to graduate level students under the new PSW in an effort to cement UK’s status as a superpower in the STEM sector. The UK is keen on welcoming students from India and the world for studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses at UK universities and continue to work and research in the field contributing to UK’s economic growth and stability.
The number of Indian students in the UK has consistently increased and reached almost 22,000 in June 2019. Almost half of the students have been enrolled onto STEM courses demonstrating the huge scope for STEM graduates in the country. Whereas earlier STEM graduates could only stay upto 4 or 6 months in the UK post completion of their degree, now they will be able to work in any role for upto 2 years after completion of degree and later on apply for a general work visa under Tier 2 category.
Best universities to study STEM undergraduate courses in the UK
- University of Bristol
- University of Oxford
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Warwick
- University of Cambridge