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Immigration Immigration

Expect students to leave the country at the end of their course, unless they meet new, higher requirements

Last updated: 06:55pm 4 May 2019

We will expect students to leave the country at the end of their course, unless they meet new, higher requirements that allow them to work in Britain after their studies have concluded.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.54

Our verdict

The government has stated, now and in the past, that it fully expects international students to leave after they finish their courses, unless they get jobs and can get a Tier 2 skilled working visa. The government’s website is straightforward in explaining this stance.

At the time of the election in June 2017, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that the number of students that overstayed their visas after finishing their courses was approximately 100,000. However, in August 2017, the ONS released updated data, highlighting that the number that overstayed their visas was actually around 4,600, meaning as many as 97.4% of international students left the UK on time. It is clear, then, that not only does the government expect students to leave when they finish their courses, but the vast majority are actually leaving.

On the next part of the pledge, the government has introduced new, higher requirements for non-EU students to return to Britain after they have graduated from a UK institution. The requirement for eligibility for a Tier 2 skilled working visa has increased from a minimum salary of £30,000 to £46,000 per year. The raising of this threshold will make it more difficult for non-EU students to re-enter the country after their studies are completed, and so with both parts of the policy completed, this one can be considered ‘done’.

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