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On Wednesday 19 July 2023, The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Students launched an Inquiry report in the House of Lords, supported by IDP and International Higher Education (IHE). The report, “The Graduate Visa: An Effective Post-Study Pathway for International Students?”, calls on the Government to publicly commit to maintaining the Graduate visa into the next Parliament and to undertake regular reviews of the route to ensure the UK remains globally competitive and attractive as a study destination.

The launch event, held in the Attlee Room at the House of Lords, was hosted by Baronesses Garden, Uddin, and Warwick, and an outline of the report findings was presented to the invited guests by Jane Venn and Joy Elliott-Bowman, IHE; co-authors of the report. IDP Connect Global Director of External Relations, Jonah Duffin, also addressed the attendees about the importance of the Graduate visa to the international higher education sector as a whole. IDP colleagues, MPs, and members of IDP Connect Advisory Panels were on hand to celebrate the launch.

Simon Emmett CEO of IDP Connect said, “Having given evidence at the Expert Roundtable in the House of Lords, I am extremely gratified to see IDP’s data and research used to support the recommendations made by the APPG IS Inquiry.

“Our most recent Emerging Futures 3 survey shows that the UK’s share as a top study destination has declined since our August 2022 survey. Post-study work policies and opportunities are key if the UK wants to remain competitive as an attractive global location for international students.”

Co-author of the report, Jane Venn, Global Marketing and Content Writer at IDP, said, “It was an honour and a privilege to be asked to support the APPG IS by evaluating the evidence and co-authoring the report. I hope the recommendations made will go some way to ensuring the longevity of the Graduate visa route and creating the strategies for development that will mean a diverse cohort of future international students are able to achieve their education and career ambitions in the UK.”

The UK’s Graduate visa was launched in July 2021, and from July 2023 the first wave of Graduate visa holders will be coming to the end of their time on the visa. To coincide with this important anniversary, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Students (APPG IS), with International Education (IHE) as the APPG IS Secretariat and sponsorship by IDP, launched an Inquiry into the effectiveness of the visa.

The Inquiry explored available evidence and early evaluation of the visa route, and heard evidence at two roundtable sessions: one for education sector experts and the other for students. The findings revealed many positive aspects of the Graduate visa, particularly its flexibility for students seeking a range of post-study outcomes such as volunteering, further research or education, working for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and charities, and for those who wish to network and carry out market research before returning home.

However, there were some notable concerns, particularly relating to a fundamental lack of official data to support required changes to the Graduate visa and provide much-needed information on graduate outcomes: what do graduates do, where do they go, and what benefits to they provide in relation to local and national economies, as well as soft power exports? The Inquiry report also recommends that the Government should commit to regular reviews of Graduate visa as part of the International Education Strategy to ensure the UK’s post-study work rights offering remains globally competitive.

The Graduate Visa: An Effective Post-Study Pathway for International Students in the UK

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Jonah Duffin
Jonah Duffin20 July 2023