The UK has announced that it will start offering work visas to graduates from the world’s top universities in order to attract the “best and brightest” workers.
Graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree from the top 50 universities abroad can apply for a two-year work visa, whereas those with doctorates can apply for a three-year visa under the scheme announced on May 30, 22. Alumni of top non-UK universities who graduated within the last five years will be eligible for the scheme.
Graduates will be eligible regardless of where they were born, and will not require a job offer in order to apply. If the students meet certain requirements, they will be eligible to switch to other long-term employment visas. There will be no limit on the number of graduates that are eligible.
A person must have graduated from a university that was ranked in the top 50 of at least two of the following: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, or The Academic Ranking of World Universities in the year they graduated to be eligible.
The government published an online list of eligible universities for 2021 that included 20 US universities, including Harvard, Yale, and MIT. The University of Hong Kong, the University of Melbourne, and the Paris Sciences et Lettres University were among the other 17 qualifying institutions.
The visa will cost £715 plus an immigration health surcharge, which allows migrants to use the NHS in the UK.
Graduates will be able to bring their families, but they must have a minimum of £1,270 in maintenance funds. They must also pass a security and criminality check and have at least a B1 intermediate level of English proficiency, which is characterised as having the “fluency to communicate with native speakers without effort.”
Changes to the scheme allow international students studying in the UK to stay and work for up to two years.
The student visa scheme, which was reintroduced two years ago, overturned a 2012 decision by then-Home Secretary Theresa May, which required international students to leave four months after completing their degree.
The combination of university lists used, according to a spokeswoman for the Home Office, “provides independent validation for institutions and opens up the opportunity for new international universities to move up the ranks and join this list in the future.”
They went on to say that each of the eligible universities attracts students from all around the world, and that there are “several other routes eligible for graduates from other universities, including the Graduate, Skilled Worker, and Global Talent routes” for graduates from other universities.
“The route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship,” said Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
“We want tomorrow’s businesses to be built here today, which is why I encourage students to embrace this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start their careers here.”
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