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Patel praises grad route as gov’t plans new limits

The former UK home secretary who reintroduced the graduate route has today said she is a “great believer” in the scheme as reports circulate of current home secretary Suella Braverman’s plans to reduce the time students can remain in the UK.

The former Home Secretary spoke at an event for Indian students who studied in the UK. Photo: The PIE.

Braverman has proposed a reduction on the time international students can stay and work in the UK after graduation

Speaking at a parliamentary reception, Priti Patel, who led the Home Office from 2019 to 2022 under Boris Johnson, said that her work with students had been a “privilege” and “real honour”, including bringing back the two-year post study work visa for international graduates.

“We’ve got Boris Johnson to thank for that, actually, as well, as prime minister,” Patel said. “He was a great believer in driving that forward, as was I.”

According to The Times newspaper, Braverman has proposed a reduction on the time international students can stay and work in the UK after graduation from two years to six months. The paper reports that the Department for Education has opposed the plan as it would make the UK less attractive to foreign students.

In a statement responding to these reports, Jamie Arrowsmith, director of Universities UK International, warned the government against introducing “policies that create lasting damage to the UK’s global reputation and competitiveness, and to local economies up and down the country”.

“We strongly urge the government not to reverse course”

“For many years, the visa and immigration environment meant that levels of international recruitment to the UK stagnated while other countries saw huge growth,” Arrowsmith said, adding that the graduate route was put in place to rectify this.

“We strongly urge the government not to reverse course,” he said. “A repeating a pattern of boom and bust in international recruitment would be a big mistake.”

Patel made the remarks at a National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK event in London, which celebrated 75 “exceptional” Indian students who have studied at British institutions. The MP pledged to do more to support Indian students to come to the UK.

“In that period I was responsible for ensuring that we did absolutely everything possible, and believe you me, we will continue to do this as well to secure more Indian students coming to the UK to study in our fantastic institutions,” she said.

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