Tighter UK Work Permits Worry Business Schools
Even tougher to get
Further restrictions on post-study work permits for international students will damage British universities, according to the admissions director at a leading business school. "People apply to us from overseas not just to undertake a degree but to get the opportunity to work in this country", says Sean Rickard, admissions director at the Cranfield School of Management.
"They want that experience on their CV. Most of them have every intention of returning to a rather lavish lifestyle in their own country."
The government has proposed a cap on the number of Tier 1 (highly skilled) and Tier 2 (skilled) work permits to be issued this year.
Over the last two years the points-based system for awarding Tier 1 and Tier 2 work permits has shifted away from rewarding qualifications to rewarding current and expected earnings.
Students graduating from UK universities with master-level degrees are automatically eligible for a two-year Tier 1 work visa. But in today's tough job market many of them can't find sufficiently well-paid work to renew the visa when it expires.
"You don't stand a chance of being interviewed unless you've got a Tier 1 work permit," says Rickard. On Cranfield's MBA programme, 87% of students were from overseas in 2009.
Admissions and careers directors at UK business schools are concerned that they will be particularly affected, because a large number of international applicants choose their business school with future work opportunities in mind.
"It's in the autumn that we'll see some effect," says Rickard. However, he adds, Cranfield has attracted the same number and diversity of people so far and the attitude of overseas applicants doesn't seem to have changed.
Work permits are not the only visas that are harder to get. The British government became stricter about granting international student visas about a year ago. As a result, more overseas applicants face rejection, and the heavy cost of having to re-apply.
"If they have the smallest excuse to turn people down, they do it," says Rickard. "If they reject you, you've got to apply again...people applying here are amazed at the sort of charges levied on them."
The current application fee for a Tier 4 student visa is £199.
"The government is damaging British universities," says Rickard. "They are damaging organisations whose funding has already been squeezed, and that used to have quite a role in spreading British culture and values throughout the world."
Originally published on UniversityWorldNews.com
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