International applicants to UK universities are rejecting the country as a place of study mainly due to poor post-study work opportunities, according to a recent survey carried out by Hobsons EMEA.
The survey revealed that 32% of students who applied to UK universities chose to study elsewhere, with over a third of these citing ‘post-study work options’ as the main reason.
A further 31% stated ‘job prospects in the destination country’ closely followed by 29% stating ‘ability to gain residency in the destination country’.
Of those who chose to study elsewhere, 4 out of 10 accepted offers to study in the United States or Canada.
Nottingham Trent University PhD student, Ayane Fujiwara, said that restrictions tightened significantly on non-EU students gaining employment post-graduation in the UK. Since she first moved to the country at the age of 15 in 2002, post-study visas have been scrapped.
Ayane told the Boar: “To be honest, I didn’t take the full benefit of the post-study visa which was available in 2009 and I regret that massively.”
Reforming the system […] to reduce net migration and tackle abuse” – Minister of State for Immigration
Minister of State for Immigration James Brokenshire said in a written statement: “The Government is reforming the student visa system to reduce net migration and tackle abuse.
“These changes will help achieve this, whilst ensuring the UK maintains a highly competitive offer and continues to attract the brightest and best international students.”
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) advised that international students are only able to work in the UK after their studies if they gain sponsorship from a “UK recognised body” or “higher education institution (HEI)”.
However Ayane commented that, as most applications for jobs are now online, it is often not possible to proceed past the declaration of eligibility to work in the UK on the first page.
Frankly, do not hope to stay here after you have studied.” – MA Creative and Media Enterprises student, Irina Jrbashyan
Talking to the Boar, Irina Jrbashyan, a Warwick MA Creative and Media Enterprises student, offers advice to international students considering studying in the UK, based on her experiences: “Frankly, do not hope to stay here after you have studied.
“Because of the complications with the visa process, the employers often don’t even bother to look at your CV or cover letter, if they find out you need a working permit.”
Ayane recommended gaining work experience or undertaking an industrial placement to build a relationship with potential future employees, commenting: “It’s a massive strength, as they will know you before they turn you down at the first page of the online application.”
The August 2015 report carries a warning that “failure to improve post-study work opportunities will see revenue generation from international students rapidly decline” and goes on to state that this could threaten the future of some UK academic institutions.