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New immigration route for overseas students

New immigration route for overseas students

Prior to 2012, overseas students could reside and work in the UK for two years after the completion of their studies. This visa route was called Post Study Work (PSW). However, in 2012, Theresa May (then Home Secretary) capped the PSW time to four months. Overseas students were therefore only allowed four months after the completion of their studies to seek employment in the UK.

Recommendations for the extension of PSW time was accepted by the Government earlier this year to six months for undergraduate and master’s students and a year for PhD students. This was not deemed to be sufficient and Sajid Javid Home Secretary at the time called for the PSW restriction to be uplifted arguing that the six-month limit undermined Britain’s universities and harmed the country’s search for global talent.

The Government has now announced (11th September 2019) that they will further extend the PSW time to two years – allowing all overseas students the opportunity to stay and work in the UK for two years after the completion of their studies.

This route will commence in 2020 and there will be no restriction on the kinds of jobs students would have to seek and no cap on numbers.

This is a welcomed move by the Government as many Universities, some Government officials and practitioners have consistently campaigned for this change. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that this change will enable overseas students to ‘unlock their potential’ whilst starting their careers in the UK. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary stated that the new immigration route shows a ‘global outlook’ which is being taken by the UK.

It is envisaged that the new route will make the UK a first-choice destination of study as well as assist employers in accessing talented graduates from around the world.

If you have any questions regarding the above or want to discuss any matters regarding your Tier 4 Student Visa, please contact Yemi Alli, Associate Solicitor on 02477 710218 or email     

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