By Jack Reed
Durham University has joined a pilot scheme designed to give international students a better chance of finding work within the UK.
The programme, which will be available for the 2018/19 intake, supports students hoping to secure a work visa by allowing those on a Masters course of 13 months or less to remain in Britain for six months after completing their studies.
Other North East universities, including Newcastle and York, are among 23 institutions incorporated into the newly expanded project, which was first introduced last year at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College London and Bath.
The universities involved are also given responsibility for eligibility checks, which simplifies the application process because it means students can submit fewer documents alongside their visa applications than is currently required.
Applicants who do not meet immigration rules will still be rejected, and all students will continue to require Home Office security and identity checks.
The most recent government figures show the number of students applying for visas increased by 8% over the past year, while there has been a 9% increase in applications to Russell Group universities, of which Durham is one.
Immigration minister Brandon Lewis reflected on the expansion of the pilot by saying: “The UK continues to be the second most popular destination for international students and the number coming to study at our universities has increased by 24 per cent since 2010.
“This is a clear indication that genuine students are welcome and there is no limit on the number who can come to study in the UK.”
Durham University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, said: “There are 150 nationalities represented among our staff and students, and we value the diversity of experience our international students bring.”
Durham’s addition to the scheme follows the University’s announcement in March 2017 that it would lobby the government to protect the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK after Brexit, and a pledge by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global), Professor Claire O’Malley, to increase the proportion of international students at Durham to 35% by 2027.
Photograph by Alex Peace via Flickr and Creative Commons