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The two-year post-study visa will apply to all international students starting courses from 2020, at undergraduate level or above, at institutions that are compliant with immigration checks. There is no restriction on the kinds of jobs graduates would have to seek and no cap on numbers.

The new arrangement reverses a ruling made in 2012 by the then-Home Secretary, Theresa May, that limited international students to only four months' stay in the UK following graduation during which to look for work.

Welcoming the announcement, Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Global said: "As an international university tackling global challenges through our teaching and research, we need different perspectives, outlooks, ideas, cultures and opinions. That's why we are delighted that international students can now look for work for up to 2 years after their degree is completed. This makes our university and the UK as a whole a far more attractive proposition for the international students who are making one of life's most significant, positive, life-changing decisions."

The move has also been welcomed by Universities UK (UUK), which has been campaigning for a decade on post-study visas, including launching its own proposals in 2018 for a two-year Global Graduate Talent Visa.

UUK's CEO Alistair Jarvis said: "This is very positive news. Evidence shows that international students bring significant positive social outcomes to the UK as well as £26 billion in economic contributions, but for too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the UK has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students.

"The introduction of a two-year post-study work visa is something Universities UK has long campaigned for and we strongly welcome this policy change, which will put us back where we belong as a first-first-choice study destination. Not only will a wide range of employers now have access to talented graduates from around the world, these graduates hold lifelong links.


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