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Group of students in discussion in boardroom with laptop

The UK Government Migrations and Advisory Committee (MAC) has published a report into their findings on the graduate route.

The report recommends that the existing route is retained. We are still awaiting a full response from the UK Government to this report.  

The graduate route provides an opportunity for international students who have been awarded their degree to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for two years, or three years for doctoral students. This enables international students to further their skills and gain valuable experience, and the UK itself to derive huge value from the skills these graduates bring. The opportunity to work in the UK following completion of a degree enables the UK to be globally competitive in attracting students. The presence of the graduate route also signifies that the UK actively welcomes and values international students. 

The diverse educational community that comes from international students allows all students to benefit from an exchange of expertise and ideas, the discovery of new cultures and languages, and a widening of their world view. International students make valuable social and economic contributions locally, regionally and nationally. International students working in the UK on the graduate route after completing studies provided a total net benefit to the UK of £70 million in 2022/23, according to new analysis by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).

Commenting on the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)’s report on the operation of the Graduate Route, Chief Executive of the Russell Group Dr Tim Bradshaw said:

“The MAC’s thoughtful review is crystal clear: the Graduate Route should be retained in full, finding no evidence of widespread abuse.

“International students bring huge value to our university communities, offering global perspectives and important skills, and creating diverse learning environments. As the MAC recognises, they are also critical to the financial sustainability of our world-leading universities. Moreover, the Graduate route plays a crucial role in ensuring the UK is an attractive destination for global talent.

“We recognise concerns around the behaviour of some agents and we would support targeted measures to address this. However, the overall message from the MAC is that the Graduate Route is achieving its objectives as set out by the Government. We would therefore urge Ministers to end the uncertainty and confirm as soon as possible that the route will continue in its entirety.”

The Russell Group response can be viewed on their statement page.

The Government Home Office has also published today (14/05/2024) a report exploring the experience and activities of international students and university sponsors accessing the Sponsored Study visa route.