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Overseas Students: Postgraduate Education

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 388, tabled on 11 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to take steps to encourage international students to complete their PhD in the UK.

Answered on

17 May 2021

We want to attract and retain the most highly skilled, globally mobile talent from around the world, and ensure the UK is a top destination for scientists, researchers and innovators.

The UK has a world-leading research base: with less than 1% the world’s population, the UK accounts for more than 3% of researchers, 7% per cent of the world’s academic publications, and 14% of the world’s most highly-cited academic publications.

In order to encourage international PhD students to study in the UK, UKRI has increased the overall proportion of UKRI studentships available to international students from Academic Year 2021/22. All students would receive a full award, to include a stipend and fees at the home level.

The new Student route was launched by Government on 5th October as part of the UK's new points-based immigration system, streamlining the immigration process for international students. Furthermore, from summer 2021, the new Graduate route will enable students who have completed a PhD to remain in the UK after graduation to stay and work, or look for work, for up to three years. Students who have successfully completed undergraduate and master’s degrees will be able to stay for a further two years after study.

The Government has implemented a number of concessions to assist visa holders in the UK who have been impacted by global travel and health restrictions. This has included offering extensions of visas for those whose leave has expired, and relaxing the rules on switching in the UK, as well as extending the deadline by which international students need to be in the UK to be eligible to apply for the Graduate route.

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