News story

New student rules to attract brightest and best

New rules will come into force within weeks to cut abuse of the student visa route, Immigration Minister Damian Green announced today.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Students can currently work in the UK for two years after their course has finished. But from 6 April a more selective system will come into effect so only the most talented international graduates can apply to stay in the UK for work purposes.

Benefiting the British economy

That means only those graduating from a university, and having a job offer from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency at a salary of £20,000 or more, will be able to continue living and working in the UK in order to benefit the British economy.

The rules are part of a radical overhaul of the student visa system, which will:

  • encourage growth - a new Graduate Entrepreneur route will open, with up to 1,000 places for students working on world-class innovative ideas who want to stay and develop them but do not meet the requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route
  • boost the economy - young entrepreneurs or small company directors will get the chance to stay on in the UK after their studies if they have £50,000 to invest in their business
  • ensure students can support themselves - for the first time since 2008, there will be an increase in the amount of money that students and working migrants, as well as their dependents, must prove they have to support themselves financially during their time in the UK
  • tackle abuse - restricting work placements to one-third of the course for international students who are studying below degree level will ensure those coming to the UK are here to study not to work

Graduate Entrepreneur route

Immigration Minister, Damian Green said: ‘It is vital that we continue to attract the brightest and the best international students but we have to be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay.

‘In the past, too many students have come to the UK to work rather than study and this abuse must end.  With the introduction of the Graduate Entrepreneur route and the restrictions on student work we are reforming the system to deliver immigration to benefit Britain.’

Published 13 February 2012