UK eases rules, gives students more flexibility for work visas

Article by Abdul Zeb, Immigration Solicitor at Fountain Solicitors

The new immigration rules are set to be introduced from 11 January 2018.

International students in the UK will soon enjoy more flexibility in switching over to work visas, with new immigration rules set to be introduced from January 11.

As per the new rules, foreign students can switch over to Tier-2 visa (or skilled worker visa) as soon as they complete their course. Currently they must wait until they obtain a degree to apply for the Tier-2 visa. This gave students only a small timeframe to find a job while still in the UK.

For example, students opting for higher education, such as a Post Graduate degree, had to wait for their thesis to be marked or a degree to be awarded after completing their course before they could apply for a work visa.

The new rule will enable them to apply for a Tier-2 visa a few months earlier than what would otherwise have possible before.

According to Fountain Solicitors this change is the result of a prolonged dialogue between UK universities and the government. As student visas, known as Tier-4 visas, are granted for the duration of the course plus a few months, it hampered the ability of international students to look for jobs in the UK.

For instance, a Tier-4 visa for a long-term study course (more than 12 months) is granted for the course duration-plus four months. If international students are unable to find a job within the window, they had to return to their home country.

Thus, currently, many students holding a Tier-4 visa are unable to switch to a Tier-2 visa because they have not yet obtained their degree and their student visa is about to expire.

It’s quite possible that the competition for jobs from EU workers will ease post-Brexit, giving international students who have studied in the UK an edge.

We provide a brief summary above. For more detailed advice or specific questions, please contact us to speak with one of our immigration law specialists.

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