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University and industry leaders are concerned that the right to a graduate visa, which allows international graduates to work in the UK for up to three years, could be removed or restricted depending on the findings of a report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to be presented to the government on Tuesday.

Creative UK, which represents the creative industries, said removing the ability for international students to stay and work in the UK after graduation would be a strong disincentive to study here and would damage an industry worth £108 billion a year.

Restrictions on international students imposed earlier this year have already led to a drop in overseas applicants, according to a survey of UK universities, and uncertainty over the fate of the graduate visa is feared to lead to further declines.

A survey of 75 institutions by the British Universities International Liaison Association found that nine out of 10 institutions are making fewer international applications for the next academic year, with a 27 percent drop in total applications for postgraduate study compared to last year.

A joint letter from Creative UK and Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, said international graduates are an integral part of the creative industries, which are more important than the UK's aerospace, life sciences and automotive industries combined, and urged the government to reject plans to remove or restrict the postgraduate visa route.

“Following recent increases to visa fees and salary thresholds, the graduate visa represents one of the few ways for talented graduates to stay in the UK and contribute to our growing creative industries. Whether it's a young Jimmy Choo honing his craft at Cordwainers or world-renowned DJ Peggy Gou studying at London College of Fashion, the role our universities play in attracting the best creative talent from around the world demonstrates the soft power influence of our institutions.” said in the letter.

 

America News Agency

 

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