UK PM bows to pressure over student visa

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has bowed to pressure from senior cabinet members over proposed changes to the student visa system.

Rishi Sunak had previously planned to shorten or eliminate the period of time foreign students could stay in the country after completing their studies.

LEADERSHIP learned that due to concerns raised by Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Home Secretary James Cleverly, the period would remain valid.

This goes against the agreement of former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, who on Tuesday referred to the graduate visa route as “a back door for foreign students to undertake low-wage jobs.”

However, there will be additional measures such as tightening restrictions on the UK market for degree courses and subjecting some international students to mandatory English tests to coincide with the latest net migration figures, LEADERSHIP has also learned.

The UK government had announced measures to curb legal migration since November, following the Office for National Statistics’ finding that net migration had reached 745,000 in 2022.

Some of the measures taken were preventing foreign students from bringing dependents and increasing the salary a person must earn to qualify for a visa.