Findings of UK Grad Route review expected by May

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The Migration Advisory Committee is expected to report back the findings of its review into the UK Graduate Route by May, the home secretary has announced.

James Cleverly made the announcement in the Daily Mail, where he outlined his wider plans to crack down on immigration, including “a comprehensive and tough package which means around 300,000 people eligible to come to the UK last year would now be unable to do so”.

“But we are going further – today I will ask the expert and independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the graduate route for international students,” wrote Cleverly.

“We must prevent abuse of this route, protect the integrity and quality of our higher education, and ensure it works in our best interests.”

The review was initially announced in December 2023 in the House of Commons by Cleverly, who took the opportunity to reinforce the plans with Daily Mail readers in the 11 March article and give a clearer timeline to when the finding’s of the review can be expected.

“I want to ensure that applications through this route are not being driven by a desire for immigration over education. The MAC will report back to me in May.”

We must prevent abuse of the graduate route into the UK & protect the integrity of our higher education system.

That’s why today I’ve commissioned a review of the graduate route for international students by the independent Migration Advisory Committee.

— James Cleverly (@JamesCleverly) March 11, 2024

Back in December, Cleverly said that international students were part of the “robust action” the government announced through a five-point plan on immigration.

Since the announcement, stakeholders have suggested that amending or removing the Graduate Route could give an advantage to the UK’s competitor markets.

Data collated by IDP backed this sentiment by indicating that close to half of applicants – some 45% – would likely change or consider changing their study destination if the post-study work period was shortened.

Terms of reference for the review have not been announced, a factor stakeholders have expressed concerns about, in addition to uncertainty about the timeline of the review, with the chair of the MAC Brian Bell reporting to have said he expects the review to take between six and nine months.

“That timeline is, I expect, a little problematic for government, given that it wants things to adapt sooner rather than later and given that this is an election year,” said Jamie Arrowsmith, director of Universities UK International, speaking at the Scottish Universities International Group conference in February.

Arrowsmith said that any efforts by government to rush this timeline, could “undermine the legitimacy of what the MAC is able to do”.

At the time, Arrowsmith said he hoped the review would include a full consultation with the sector, giving the opportunity to argue for the wider benefits of the policy and implications of any further restrictions.

The post Findings of UK Grad Route review expected by May appeared first on The PIE News.

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