To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education to ensure that her Department's policies on visa renewals for international students are aligned with the International Education Strategy.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
21 June 2021
Ahead of the update to the International Education Strategy published in February 2021, I reaffirmed our commitment to the ambition outlined within it.
The Home Office has already made several changes which ensure alignment with the International Education Strategy.
With the launch of the Student route on 5 October 2020, we have simplified and streamlined the previous Tier 4 route to make it easier for students to apply for further courses of study within the UK.
We have extended the ability for students to apply for a further course of study within the UK to students studying at all types of institution, and to switch into the Student route from a greater number of other immigration routes.
All students can apply for a further course within the UK, provided they are able to demonstrate they are progressing academically to a higher level of study.
Students who have been in the UK for 12 months or more with valid permission on the date of application, are not required to demonstrate evidence of finances with their application.
The Government has also removed the time limit on study above degree level, to enable talented students to undertake further qualifications.
The launch of the Graduate route on 1 July will further enhance our offer to international students. Students who successfully complete an eligible qualification at degree level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance will be able to work or look for work at any skill level for two years (three for PhD students) after their studies. The Graduate route will enhance the UK as a destination for study and will attract and retain talented individuals to develop their careers within the UK.
The Government will continue to work constructively between departments to support the delivery of the International Education Strategy.
A welcome sign of the results of this are the number of international students applying for permission on the Student and Child Student routes has recovered strongly despite the Covid-19 pandemic, in the year ending March 2021, there were 250,683 sponsored students granted permission.