UK Visa Regulations for International Students

International students who graduate from UK universities or business schools with a bachelors or a master’s degree — which of course includes MBAs and business-related MAs — will now be allowed to stay in the country for two years after graduation to look for work, the government has announced.

Under the current visa regime, overseas students are only allowed to stay for four months. The new policy marks a return to the situation as it stood until 2012, when the government cut the visa time-limit to reduce the number of immigrants in the country. This reversal should make UK business schools even more attractive to overseas students, and ease some of their worries arising from Brexit.

Welcome News For British Business Schools

The new policy is welcome news for schools given the barrage of recent headlines about Brexit chaos and uncertainty over the UK’s links with its biggest trading partner, which might be expected to make students think twice about a UK education. 

Despite the Brexit confusion, business schools have so far remained bullish about the impact of Brexit, insisting to Poets and Quants that it has not impacted application numbers. London Business School even says that it had a record number of second-round applications for its full-time MBA this year.

It is understandable that well-known and highly regarded schools such as LBS, The University of Oxford’s Said Business School and Cambridge Judge Business School remain confident that their globally recognized brands mean they can continue to attract talented international students.

Should Help Smaller Schools That Have Experienced Declines In International Applicants

However, the UK is home to dozens of smaller schools which in private are nervous that the “Trump Effect”, which has led to a decrease in international students applying to US schools because they do not feel welcome, might be replicated in Brexit Britain. This new visa policy should ease some of the pressure on these schools by reassuring students that they are welcome, and that they will be given a reasonable amount of time to move into the workforce on completion of their degrees. 


Professor David Allen, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the University of Exeter Business School said, “We welcome this news of a change in student visa policy. We know from our discussions with international candidates that the prospects for work after graduation is a factor when deciding where to study.

Expects Decision To Boost International Students To 600,000 From 460,000

The Chartered Association of Business Schools, which represents the interests of over 120 UK business schools and other providers of business education, said in a statement, “We’re delighted by government plans to re-introduce the two-year post-study visa for international students. We have pushed for this change for five years. International business students contribute £5.6bn to the UK annually and are a positive part of our schools and universities.”

The new policy chimes with the UK’s pro-Brexit government, which has said that it wants to reduce unskilled immigration but open the doors to the “brightest and best”. It aims to increase the number of international students in UK universities from 460,000 to 600,000 over the coming decade.

With the changed rules in mind, Prodigy Finance created an in-depth article about the Visa Regulations and how your  job may impact your duration of stay in the UK. According to them, these changes made to attract the best talent can benefit skilled foreign workers.  As many as 1000 international students will be able to stay back in the UK every year as per Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. The students can focus on entrepreneurship with start-up firms or apply for a skilled worker or entrepreneur visa.

As per the new rules, there is no restriction on the number of persons who can obtain a Tier 2 visa to stay and work post study, as long as the visa-holder can get a graduate-level job with an income of £20,000 or more.

Following the cancellation of post work visa, the number of Indian students coming to study at UK universities registered a fall of nearly 23.5% last year, including a 28% drop at postgraduate level.

The rules are also expected to benefit Indian coming to the UK. Intra-company transferees who are paid more than £152,100 will now no more need to take TOEFL to extend their stay in the UK. The government is also reducing the number of documents that need to be shown by ICTs to prove they have worked for the company for more than a year.

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