Further written evidence submitted by
Mina Kasherova, International Students' Officer, Sheffield University|
I am writing to you in my capacity as elected representative
of international students at the University of Sheffield further
to our letter of 22 March to express our ongoing concerns with
regards to the government's changes to the immigration rules following
the consulation on the student visa reforms and their Statement
of Intent in relation to students published on 31 March 2011.
With this second letter I would like to stress on
the fact that there are not many full-time international student
representatives who could be making a similar case to your Committee,
and I hope you see our contribution as a reflection of students'
concerns on a national level despite the fact that many international
students are underrepresented and such fears are rarely voiced
out on a national scale.
1. Post study work
The UKBA's current position in relation to the Tier
1 Post Study Work route is that it will close to new applicants
in April 2012 and that those who wish to undertake post study
work after then will need to have a sponsor under Tier 2. The
agency has said that it is also looking at creating a student
entrepreneur route, the details of which have not been announced.
The agency's current position is that those graduating
with a UK degree, PGCE or PGDE will be able to switch, without
being subject to the limits on Tier 2 or the RLMT, providing they
are going to be paid the minimum rate, currently suggested to
be £20,000, or the minimum rate set out in the relevant code
However, the Statement of Intent in relation to students,
which was published on 31 March 2011, states that the Government
will monitor the numbers switching into Tier 2. It states that,
if necessary, the MAC will be consulted on "how to address
any abuse (including the subsequent imposition of a limit)
This means that if too many legitimate students apply to enter
Tier 2 then this "abuse" may lead to restrictions.
There is no doubt that for many students, the PSW
Scheme acted as a very effective "carrot" to come to
the UK even in practice the total numbers remaining represented
a relatively small proportion of the total students coming to
the UK. We still think that the closure of this scheme is likely
to have a negative impact on the attractiveness of the UK as a
study destination. The current lack of clarity about the successor
scheme will only add to this situation.
It is important that employers, universities, business
schools and prospective students are given more certainty about
post study work options if the UK is to remain attractive to the
"brightest and the best" students.
2. Impact on SMEs
UK-based employers need to be able to recruit graduate
talent from overseas to work in the UK for a number of reasons,
for example to fill shortage positions or to recruit for specialist
language and cultural skills. These posts could previously be
filled with foreign graduates using the PSW route. It is our view
that the new Tier 2 scheme will not be attractive or easily accessible
to small and medium enterprises who wish to expand into overseas
markets but who neither have the time, the expertise nor need
to become a Tier 2 sponsor.
In particular, we are very concerned that the new
Tier 2 scheme may negatively impact small and medium enterprises
in our region particularly in the science sector. Evidence on
salaries collected via the 2009-10 Destination of Leavers from
Higher Education (DLHE) survey shows that first degree graduates
entering the science sector across the UK are unlikely to be paid
over £20k (see attached spreadsheet). Given these figures
are based on graduates working throughout the UK it will be the
case that data for the Yorkshire and Humber region will be lower
than these figures.
The situation for graduates completing higher degrees
is better, but given the lower salary levels in the Yorkshire
and Humber region this suggests that the impact on SMEs looking
to recruit science specialists in the region may be adversely
That some further consideration is given to enabling
SMEs to recruit graduate talent from overseas without the additional
requirements of being a Tier 2 sponsor and a review of the graduate
salary levels on a regional basis.
Our current and prospective students are finding
it difficult to plan their futures due to the uncertainties around
the new post study work arrangements. Employers are also uncertain
about how they can plan for their human resource requirements.
We urge the government to provide some clarity and to consider
how these changes may be implemented in a way that minimises the
possible negative impacts outlined above.
9 May 2011