University calls for change in rules on overseas students

Aston University is supporting the call to allocate a new type of visa to qualified international students, which would allow them to secure skilled work for a period after their graduation.

The visa would enable a wider range of employers to benefit from access to skilled graduates from around the world, and would in turn make Birmingham a more attractive destination for international students, while at the same time boosting the local economy and local business by giving them access to an international pool of talent.

Current estimates show that international students make an annual contribution to the UK economy of c £20bn, including £1.9bn to the economy of the West Midlands.

Saskia Loer Hansen, the Pro-Vice Chancellor International at Aston University said: “Aston University strongly supports this proposal which we believe is an essential step to make Birmingham, and the whole of the UK, more attractive to international students and graduates who make such a vital contribution to our community and economy.”

Under the new proposals, graduates would be sponsored by a university to look for suitable work in the UK for up to two years post graduation. The proposal would abolish the need for each graduate to have an employer as their sponsor, and would also allow them to earn bigger salaries and acquire more senior job titles. The objective of these changes is to encourage international students to move to live and work in those UK cities where average wages are lower than those in London, and where their skills and expertise can make the biggest impact.

Loer Hansen added: “In an increasingly globalised world, we know also that these students and graduates bring not only investment, but skills and perspectives which are valued by UK students and local employers. Sending out a strong message that Birmingham is a welcoming city, which is open to global talent, makes sense for everyone.”