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| 1 minute read

MAC recommends retaining Graduate visas

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has just published its rapid review of the UK Graduate visa route and submitted its report to the Home Office. The report recommends keeping the visa and confirms there's no evidence of misuse by international students. Among the key findings:

  • MAC recommends retaining the Graduate visa route; it's broadly achieving the objectives set out by the Home Office while also supporting Government education policy as outlined in the International Education Strategy. 
  • There's no evidence of widespread abuse on the Graduate route or that the visa is undermining the integrity and quality of the UK higher education system. The MAC assesses the impact on public finances of Graduate visa holders on the route to be small but positive, as most applications work, are young, and have no recourse to public funds.
  • There is evidence that, while unconnected to the rules themselves, some agents and subagents recruiting international students are misselling UK higher education and exploiting students. That should be addressed through various registrations and other recommendations in the rapid review.

This is a positive report for graduates, the university sector and employers, but only if the Government accepts the report's findings and don't cherry pick parts of it to justify further visa restrictions. As the report makes clear, the UK's competitors for international students have equivalent post-study work schemes, as this type of visa is an essential transitional route for graduates to start their career path. Without this visa, it becomes incredibly difficult for students to stay in the UK after graduating, especially after the hikes in the minimum salary levels for sponsorship that came in last month.


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