By John Ikani
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of the United Kingdom has proposed potential restrictions on foreign students with two-year graduate visas, suggesting that those who do not achieve high grades may face limitations on staying in the country.
Home Secretary James Cleverly commissioned the MAC to examine the existing program as part of a broader initiative aimed at reducing net migration by 300,000.
According to The Telegraph, there has been a significant surge in the number of students granted two-year visas after graduation, reaching over 98,000 in June 2023—an increase of 74% or 42,000 within a year.
Concerns have been raised about the graduate visa being utilized as a loophole for employment, particularly in low-skilled positions, or as a means to extend stays without an employment obligation.
Professor Brian Bell, the chairman of the committee, highlighted the absence of a requirement for students to attain specific grades, stating, “There’s no requirement to get particular grades in your university course or anything like that.” The committee aims to assess whether introducing a rule mandating a certain grade or academic achievement is sensible in the graduate route.
Bell further disclosed that the committee will explore the possibility of imposing additional restrictions, such as permitting foreign students to remain in the UK only if they attend specific universities or complete designated courses. Moreover, certain types of employment or activities may be subjected to limitations as part of this comprehensive review.