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The lure of work rights for int’l students

by admin | Mar/22/2018 |

Entrepreneurial approach

For students intent on remaining in the UK, where it remains very difficult to find sponsored employment by graduation date, entrepreneurial action is called for.

When Tripti Maheshwari enrolled in her master’s degree at Cass Business School in London in September 2014, she was two years too late to enjoy the post-study work rights period granted by the Tier 1 visa and had to try and find a job by the time her student visa expired.

“It’s a big step to move away from home, you just arrived in the country, going through cultural adjustment… and you suddenly have to look for a job,” she explains.

Tripti applied to jobs on her own, but it didn’t work out.

The main problem for her was lack of information on which companies are actually willing to sponsor international graduates, and so came up with the idea of designing a platform where licensed sponsors and international students could meet.

“I was applying to anything without doing my research – out of desperation because there was no time”

She then quickly applied for a Graduate Entrepreneur visa and founded Student Circus, a service now counting over 10,000 subscribers and partnering with various UK universities.

But the memory of that frantic job search at the end of her master’s degree is still present. “It was a nightmare,” she says. “I was applying to anything without doing my research – out of desperation because there was no time on a student visa!”

For UKCISA chief executive Dominic Scott, the Tier 1 visa was “a child of its time” and it’s unlikely to come back.

“We are now in a very different political climate,” he explains.

In the last year of its implementation, 2011, 88,000 students got permission to stay in the UK after graduation and work, Scott says. Nowadays, it’s about 5,000.

“It’s a huge downturn,” he adds. “But I think we still have a reasonably good offer, it’s not all doom and gloom.”

According to Scott, the importance of work rights is not necessarily in their role as an incentive for students to choose a destination over another, but in the increasing importance of work experience as a key element of education.

“Some form of practical experience has become central, and critical for pretty much every student,” he says. “It’s becoming a normal part of finishing your education.”

The justification for work rights, he explains, is work experience – not immigration.


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