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Home Secretary considering cuts on visa stays for UK students, says report

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London: British Home Secretary Suella Braverman would be on a collision course with the UK education department over plans to shorten the allowed period of stay for foreign students under a post-study visa route, the media reported on Wednesday.
The Graduate Visa route, which gives foreign graduates – including Indians – the chance to continue looking for a job and gain work experience for up to two years without the requirement of a specific job offer, is expected to be scrapped by the proposed review of Braverman.
According to The Times newspaper, India’s Home Secretary has drawn up a plan to “reshape” the Graduate Visa route, requiring students to get a work visa by seeking skilled employment or leaving the UK after six months. The paper refers to leaked advice saying the UK’s Department of Education (DfE) is trying to block the changes, fearing it would harm the UK’s attractiveness to foreign students.
A government source supporting Braverman’s plan said the Graduate Visa is increasingly being used by students for short courses at “less respectable universities.” “It is being used as a back door for immigration,” the paper quoted the source as saying. According to government data, Indians overtook Chinese as the largest cohort of foreign students last year and the Graduate Visa route was dominated by Indians – accounting for 41% of visas issued.
Braverman’s plan is one of many drawn up after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asked the Home Office and the DfE to put forward proposals to reduce the number of foreign students coming to the UK. Figures published last week showed there were 6,80,000 overseas students in the UK. pti



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