Continuing on my older post, here is a quick (personal) view on the recent UK visa changes and impact on the international students at LBS.

Before getting into the specifics, it is important to understand the rationale behind these visa changes. Until recently, there were a number of low-grade universities in UK that admitted international students, who would ‘technically’ come for education but basically start working (in whatever work they find) soon after landing in UK. And then soon after their official graduation, would get a post-study visa and continue to stay in UK. The core purpose of these universities was to offer a platform for young international students to get into UK. Something similar was common among many small-medium enterprises, which helped international students show job offers and official employment, and therefore continue to stay in UK. The recent UK visa changes essentially aim to prevent such ‘spurious’ practices.

Now there are two broad visa changes that one would think could impact the international students at LBS:

1) No student visas being allowed for some universities – As explained above, the main objective here is to stop students from using the low-grade university channel to get into UK. As a result, visas are now not being offered for a number of such universities. Infact, the immigration maintains a list of universities that are allowed to admit international students, for whom the UK immigration would offer student visas. This change certainly does not impact LBS, given LBS is the top-tier institute within UK. Moreover, the team at LBS actively works with the UK immigration to resolve any visa-related issues for its international admits (even if the issues are due to admits’ personal reasons – such as financial proofs etc.). In my batch, I’ve seen cases where the LBS senior management team, even the Dean, would get involved to ensure that international admits do not face any visa-related challenges.

2) No post-study visa, but mandatory employer sponsorship to stay in UK - To be able to stay in UK, it is now critical to have a company sponsorship. This is to prevent any small-medium companies (as explained above) from offering spurious platforms for international community to stay in UK. Obviously, sponsoring visas requires admin efforts and has cost implications, so not everyone mom-n-pop shop would make an effort to sponsor visa. But this does not impact blue-chip organizations that hire students from the LBS campus. All the leading banks, consulting firms, PE funds, industry recruiters etc. — all of them globally run the visa sponsorship process across a variety of geographies, and therefore it is not something that they shy from in UK. They continue to recruit international students within UK and sponsor their visas, as appropriate. That said, there are some firms that have shown some resistance to sponsor, especially when they have large global presence and therefore can recruit students for their respective geographies and nationalities. But this is more theoretical than practical, because if such large-scale employers like certain candidates, they would do everything in their power to ensure that those candidates have the required admin tasks (including visa) sorted out. Now the above is true for those looking for jobs in UK. As I understand, there is some marginal impact on those international students who are keen to start-up businesses in UK, since there are visa rules that now require these students to show significant dedicated financial support (either through own savings or through VC funding). Read more about the Tier I entrepreneur visa here.

Once you understand the rationale behind these changes, and what these changes are, it’s much more comforting — as you realize that LBS has negligible impact due to any of such changes.

Disclaimer: In general, visa rules are extremely complex, and it is common for different people to face different challenges. So if any reader disagrees with the above, and has an alternate opinion, I’d love to hear.

2 Responses to “Recent UK visa changes and impact on the international students”

  1. avatar AM says:

    Hi:

    Can you please comment how the visa changes have impacted recruiting for international students in the class of 2012? Have most people been able to get offers?

    Thanks,
    Amna

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