On 9 September, the UK government announced changes to the Immigration Rules. This update details only the changes of most direct relevance to employers and sponsors – there are many other rule changes and the full Statement of Changes can be accessed here.
In addition to these changes, there has been another important and very recent government proposal relating to Tier 4 international students for the 2020/2021 intake – that is, that they will be able to stay in the UK for two years beyond completing their course. It is understood that such students will be issued a two year post-study work visa without needing a job offer or an employer to sponsor them and without any restriction on the type of work they can do. Since 2012, most students graduating from a UK university have had just four months from the end of their studies to change visa category (i.e. into Tier 2, which carries minimum salary thresholds and other costs and administrative burdens, and arguably makes them unattractive recruits) or leave the UK. That is not a practice adopted by most of the countries with whom the UK competes for the best international students, and so this is a move to be welcomed from that perspective. We await full details of the scheme.