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.
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!