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Why UK is No Longer an Attractive Option for Higher Education

Many of you will have heard that from April 5 this year, the Post-Study Work visa (or PSW) will no longer be available to recent international graduates in the UK.

uk higher education

The UK government are ending this type of visa, and all international students in the UK who wish to stay on and work after their studies will have to find another way of doing so.

Why did so many international students (including Indian students) apply for this type of visa?

Simple, it allowed them to stay on in the UK for up to two years after graduation to work or look for work.

PSW was so popular with international students because it was relatively easy to apply for and because it allowed students to spend two further years in the UK, even if they didn’t have a job at the time of applying for the visa.

Effectively, students could graduate from their programme, apply for the PSW and then stay in the country and look for work, any type of work.

The PSW was an opportunity for some international students to earn a bit of money to help pay back loans and gain valuable international work and living experience.

For many international students, having the opportunity to work at the end of their degree programme (even if it was in a job unrelated to their studies) is very important and an integral part of the whole overseas study experience.

UK: No Longer Attractive

Now that the PSW is being removed, the UK is no longer an attractive study option for many students because those students cannot stay in the UK and will have to go home.

Some Indian students are saying that if they cannot stay in the UK to work, they won’t be able to pay back their student loans.  So the UK is no longer a study destination of choice.

What will replace the PSW?

Well, the short answer is ‘not much’.

The only option open now to recently graduated international students who want to stay in the UK and work is the Tier 2 visa route, but it isn’t much of an option for most students.

The Tier 2 visa rules state that in order to qualify, students must “have an offer of a skilled job from a licensed sponsor and be paid at least £20,000 [per year]”.  This will be virtually impossible for most students.

Indian students who were previously considering studying the UK might rethink their plans now that the PSW is no longer available.

Where else can they study?  Anywhere.

The USA is, of course, an option, but a whole wide world of opportunity is waiting to be discovered.

Throughout Europe, there are fantastic universities, many of which offer degree programmes in English.

Universities across Asia are vying for the international student market and would be happy to host Indian students.  And Canada is always in attractive option.  Take a chance, open your eyes to the possibilities and go!


  1. Mohan on December 30, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    Hello to everyone, especially who visits this website. To introduce myself I have finished my masters in UK and had an offer of salary £24,500 and but the sponsor couldn’t get the sponsor licence. Therefore, who is looking for to work after graduation this may be a bit of luck and this could be less than 1% out of all numbers.
    And also please check that degree you are going to do is that value for money or will it help for your future career?
    Many of them coming here were not very clear about the course structure and what are the visa rules changes and extending visa is more and more complicated and the rules has been changed more than 200 times since 2011. for an example I know one students completed the degree and waiting for his graduation but the Visa was expired just before 4 weeks before graduation but denied to extend visa but he never bother about coming back for graduation.
    Now, they have realized the sharp decline (the numbers coming) and trying to make some changes to get it back but it is not a welcome one and we should have to wait to see more helpful one to support students, if not no use investing the time and money, can do more wonders @back home.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 30, 2015 at 10:01 PM

      Thanks Mohan. Can we talk in detail about what you went through?

  2. sunandan on August 26, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    I recently read that UK masters programme of 1 year are not recognized in India, How does that affect the career prospects in reality ? I dont want to get a degree certificate just for the sake of it , if it is not recognized , then it is just a piece of paper . What choices do I have for 2 year masters in UK

    • Adam bomb on December 5, 2014 at 3:10 AM

      same Q

  3. Raj on August 16, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Hi…PSW cancellation is clearly says UK no longer welcome for non-eu students, paying high fees and studying considerable period of time and you have no chance of gaining the experience in particular studies and with tightening new rules which is not going to help students to work part-time and support themselves.
    Visa extension is also a nightmare and no respect and longer wait than what we expected
    therefore,I wouldn’t recommend anybody who want to come and study here. Students think once they have completed their studies thinking that they can change from TIER-4 to TIER-2 which is absolutely twisted one. Having an offer for job £20,000 is fine but who is going to sponsor you, they all limited. The clear MSG is if you want to come and study please come and study and go but not for work.

  4. N on June 21, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    There are many jobs that will pay more than GBP 20K for graduate students, but after several months of trying to get a job in the UK, I’ve realised that most companies, from small to big multinationals, do not want to sponsor students so that they pass from the Tier 4 Student VISA to the Tier 2, they have policies. You can go to a job fair or even check in their websites in the “careers” or “jobs” sections and then go to “FAQ” and you’ll see that in the great majority they say that they don’t sponsor candidates. So even if the job exists and the company “can” sponsor students, it will be very hard to actually get a company to sponsor you.

  5. osayi ruth on April 30, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    hi, what if i do my masters immediately after my bsc, can’t i live and work in the uk? or get a job that pays over 20,000 pounce per annum?

  6. Shavin on April 21, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    Pls Help me ! i m stuck in a swirl of confusions on where to do PG programme. My friends suggesting lot many options like US, Canada, Australia , New Zealand. Recently a friend of mine told about Studying in Sweden . Basically i prefer Europe than US or Canada. So can any one help me with an answer of a good possibility of getting admission in a good University in a country which is good for Education and with easy immigration and job offers. With Visa restrictions i cant opt for UK anymore. So other than that Which country is god German , Sweden, Norway, Latvia etc . pls i need guidance

  7. Manoj on April 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I wanna know ‘what is credit hour ‘ how it works ?

  8. GMate on April 3, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    One good thing with higher education in the UK is that your spouse gets a work visa if your study duration is more than 12 months. That really helps married couples in supporting themselves during their stay.

  9. SS on April 1, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    UK is finished in every sense. Let them do whatever. Who cares?

  10. Kiran on April 1, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    How many of you consider Singapore?

    • Indian on October 24, 2012 at 2:47 AM

      Hey Guys,

      Why you all considering to study overseas by burdening your family ( Bank Loan).
      Consider to study in your own country institution like Indian Institute of Science, IIT, IIM.

  11. Bandar on March 31, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Hi all,

    Does any one know how a graduate student can transfer from one university to another? I am admited at UCLA but i want to move to Berkeley or stanford? What are the procedures? what are the requirments?

    Thank you

  12. Anindya on March 30, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    It’s not a new rule,I’m afraid.They proposed this bill on early 2010 and passed it before September 2012 intake of students.

    Unfortunately this was mainly because of abusing. Recession 2008,Greece financial turmoil played a long long affect.

    Fortunately USA/Australia/Canada is still way out from this,but early signs already that Canada recently trimmed unlimited PR visa applications per year to 10K visa applications per year.

  13. Adnan on March 30, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    I was going to apply to USA universities for a Masters in Architecture degree. But most of the courses were 2 years longs, and the 1 year courses weren’t my cup of tea. And measure for measure, the education in USA is only marginally, fractionally better than the UK, at least for my field. The job-scene there is as messed up as it is in the UK if not worse. Eg: from a batch of 39 students at Harvard School of Design, only 2 have currently got jobs. If that doesn’t scare people away, I don’t know what will. UK gives me the same thing ultimately, which is a Masters in Architecture degree, in HALF the time and at HALF the cost!! no one cares if it took me 1 year or 2 years to get there. I don’t need the cursed GRE, and the application process is infinitely simpler in the UK. I cant delay my Masters education in the hope that someday the economy in the USA might improve and then I’ll get a job after my masters. UK just made sense..I’ll even have lesser loan-money to pay back than I would if I studied in the US…. OH and you are allowed to stay jobless in UK for up to 3 months after you graduate after which you have to leave the country; this I know from a number of friends who studied there in the last 2 years.

  14. Riddle on March 30, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    In a normal economy, getting a job in UK that pays 20K isn’t too tough. (In US, 20K per annum is considered the poverty line. So, considering exchange rate and a similar standard of living, 20K GBP isn’t too hard to obtain after a Master’s degree, unless you’re a complete dunce who just wants to settle somewhere abroad)

    But in the kinda mess the world’s in, I guess tier 2 isn’t a gunshot sure option for students to risk paying so much on.

    And I guess the reason they’re removing the PSW is because so many people are staying on, violating the terms of the visa, using the country’s resources and services without contributing much (in terms of getting a good job, then paying taxes and spending the money earned, all of which stimulates the economy) in return. Obviously, during tough financial times, immigrants and foreigners are the first to have fingers pointed at ; that’s true not just for the UK.

  15. B on March 30, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Are there many universities that have average starting salaries greater than 20k pounds? I read that even imperial has an average of only 24k pounds. What is the scene like?

  16. Anand on March 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Thanks HSB to showing your interest in UK.
    we like some more post on UK…plz…

  17. manasa on March 30, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    why did UK cancelled the PSW?

    • HSB on March 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Good question. Maybe they want only Highly Skilled students who can get job that pays over 20,000 GBP.

      • manasa on March 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        may be,in future,we can expect the same in US 😮

        • Prasad on March 30, 2012 at 2:14 PM

          PSW cancelled? Who cares? US is the best place for higher studies 😉

        • sam on March 30, 2012 at 3:38 PM

          US its already there. For profit H1 visas there are salary range to qualify to apply for H1 visas.
          One cant get employed in relatives firm for sake before getting real job in H1 for less salary.

    • A on March 30, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      buddy over there said there’s a scarcity of GOOD jobs for the natives……they obviously wouldnt want their citizens to go hungry ‘coz of better specimens 😛
      seriously. they hate competition when the job scene is already so bad

  18. A on March 30, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    No kidding. Went for AUS instead :-/

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