A short term vote winner or a genuine attempt to curb migration?

Recently, Home Secretary Theresa May announced further plans to curb migration, and this time students were the target.

In her latest proposal, foreign students would be required to leave the United Kingdom upon completing their studies, and reapply for UK jobs within their home country.

Ms May’s plan has come at a time when the government has failed to meet its net-migration targets, and when a general election is only months away.

In 2014, immigration was an extremely hot topic. The likes of UKIP have seemingly ‘threatened’ the major political parties with its by-election wins and Conservative MPs defecting, which has consequently catapulted immigration to the forefront of politics, leaving behind other important issues that need to be addressed.

Whilst the UK immigration system is perhaps not perfect, the government risks alienating students for short-term election gain.

Foreign students net Britain nearly £7bn each year and are required to fill skills shortage gaps, predominantly within the engineering, technology and science sectors.

Sir James Dyson recently stated that “we need those foreign graduates” because by 2020, in the engineering sector alone, an extra 640,000 highly skilled individuals will be required.

What will this mean for employers if this proposal came to pass?

If the proposal came to pass, students would need to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa under the ‘Restricted’ process.

This entails the employer advertising the vacancy to the public, and, should this not unearth any suitable local hires, they can request the Home Office to consider providing sponsorship to the potential employee via their monthly quota system.