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UK’s Graduate Route Update: MAC Recommends Government to Keep the Two-Year Visa Unaltered

May 21, 2024

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The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has released the key recommendations of the latest review regarding the UK’s Graduate Route. In order to curb migration and stamp out any abuse of the Graduate Route Visa, UK’s Home Secretary James Cleverly instructed the MAC committee to review the evidences and provide a detailed report. 

Chaired by Brian Bell, the committee released a 70-page report on 14th May 2024. This report not only has updates pertaining to the Two-year Post-Study Work Visa, but it also addresses the role of International Recruitment Agents and Sub-Agents. To familiarize you with this detailed report, we have summarised the key outcomes of this review ahead in brief.

MAC Recommends Continuing UK’s Graduate Route

The review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) found that there was no evidence of widespread abuse of the post-study work visa. Hence, it recommended that the Government should continue to provide the two-year Graduate Route Visa for International Students in the UK without any changes. Adding further to this, the committee expressed that the graduate route will be helpful to the UK Universities in expanding the range of courses offered and it will also help to curb the financial losses on domestic students and research. 

Mandatory Registration System for International Recruitment Agents

The MAC committee also advised the Government to create a mandatory registration system for international recruitment agents and sub-agents. This was introduced to address the concerns of malpractices followed by certain agents who recruit students for courses at UK Universities. 

Furthermore, it was specified that this will also help to curb the possible exploitation of both students and graduate visa holders as some International Student Agents might be mis-selling the UK as a higher education destination. This registration system will also help to collect and monitor international student recruitment data, thus, offering transparency in the recruitment process.

MAC’s Evaluation on Graduate Route Visas in 2023 

While reviewing the previous data, MAC stated that in 2023, a total of 1,14,000 Graduate Route Visas were processed for main applicants and 30,000 Visas granted for Dependants. Among these most of the Graduate Route Visas were concentrated among Four Nationalities. These top source countries include India, Nigeria, China, and Pakistan. They contributed towards 70% of the total graduate visas approved and, in this India has been a significant contributor with 40%. 

It was observed that most of the graduate route applicants, that is around 91% had completed Postgraduate Taught Courses. Also, 54% of the main applicants were over 25 years old. 40% of the applicants were located in London, indicating their preference of moving to the capital city for better work prospects after graduation. 

Claim of Graduate Route Visa Being Used for Immigration Instead of Education

Addressing the concern of the Graduate Route Visa being a “Deliveroo” Visa for immigration, the committee probed into it further and stated that visa holders were earlier opting for lower-paid work and wages, but it improved over time. Also, the median monthly income was £1,750 and £21,000 annually. Answering the big question of the route being abused, the committee stated that the levels of abuse on the graduate route are quite low.

Summarising MAC review for the future of higher education in the UK, the committee expressed that restrictions or changes on the Graduate Route would take the Government away from their target of hosting 600,000 international students. Additionally, these restrictions will also hamper the popularity of the UK as a leading study destination, and it might lose its share to other study destinations like Australia, Canada, and Germany.

These are the major outcomes that you must know about MAC’s review for Graduate Route. While the government is yet to respond to this review, it is anticipated that there won’t be any changes to this type of UK Student Visa. In a way, this seems to end the uncertainty of what will happen next for professionals and recruiters in this sector as well as for international students. 

To summarise we can say that Study Abroad Recruiters can continue to focus on student recruitment for the UK, especially from the countries with high student concentration preferring to use the Graduate Route Visa. If you are a study abroad recruiter from any of these source countries like India, Nigeria, China, Pakistan, or any other South Asian country looking for student support services for recruitment, then you can reach out to KC Overseas Education. 

We provide End-to-End Student Recruitment Services to study abroad recruiters thereby making the process quite streamlined and hassle-free. So, let’s collaborate to give best of the Services to Study Abroad Aspirants and thrive in this sector with mutual support!

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