UK Home Secretary Theresa May recently released a plan to send foreign graduates back to their home countries immediately after completing their degree. The proposal has been widely criticized by scientists and leading universities in the United Kingdom.

Currently, graduates have four months to seek work after completing their degree. Under the new plan, foreign graduates from countries outside the European Union would have to return home before being able to apply for a job and work visa in the UK. The United States, Canada, and Australia allow foreign graduates to work for one year after graduation.

Critics have said that the plan would deter foreign graduates from working in the UK. “Forcing students to return home to apply for a work visa would put significant barriers of time and money in their way when they can least afford them,” said Dr. Sarah Main, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering.

“If the UK is to remain internationally competitive, it should be looking to broaden, not limit, the opportunities for qualified international graduates to stay in the UK to work for a period and contribute to the economy,” stated Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK.

About 120,000 students from outside the EU study in the UK each year. Seventy thousand of these students stay after graduation.


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