The Home Office has today announced a change to the immigration rules with respect to Tier 4 Student Visas, affecting international students studying in higher education in the UK.

2017-2018 saw around 450,000 international students enrolled in higher education courses in the UK. Through the current policy enacted in 2012, international students hoping to remain in the UK after studying must find sponsored employment within 4 months following the completion of their degree. If students are unable to find sponsored employment in this time, they are required to leave the UK. However the changes announced today mean that all international graduates could now qualify for post-study work for a two year period, also extending the amount of time international graduates can try to find sponsored employment in the UK.

The White Paper released by the Home Office further details that there is no restriction on the kinds of jobs international graduates would have to seek and no cap on numbers. Jobs may be applied for regardless of the international graduates' skills or the subject studied. It should be noted however that whilst international graduates would be able to take roles in low skilled employment during the two years following graduation, students must find skilled, sponsored employment if they wish to remain in the UK beyond that.

The changes will apply to international students who start courses at undergraduate level or above from next year onwards.

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