London Mayor Boris Johnson proposes work visa for Indian and other Commonwealth students

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson plans to propose post-study work visa for students hailing from the Common wealth countries as a measure to reverse the sharp decline in students from India for their University education.

Mr. Johnson will propose the Common wealth visa which would potentially allow students to stay and work for two years after graduating. This is to begin initially on a trial basis for Indian students and if successful, will be extended to other Commonwealth students.

The Mayor is also proposing a work visa for graduates in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for up to two years to meet the critical skills shortage in the UK.

However, it is to be noted that Mr. Johnson has no power over immigration policy. This proposal has not yet been presented to the
Home Secretary, Theresa May, who seeks to reduce the number of people settling in the UK from outside the EU.

The number of Indian students travelling to the UK to study as international students has fallen by 50% in the last three years. Indian PM Modi, in his visit to London, raised the issue of student visas to Cameron urging that Indian students are amongst the best and the brightest in the world.

Boris Johnson

Indian students in London were the third largest revenue generator for the city having contributed a whopping £130 million in 2014. Johnson’s recent analysis had found that Indian students paid 56 million pounds in fees and nearly 74 million pounds in living costs – the money creating and supporting 1643 jobs.

But visa changes and the scrapping of the Post Study Work Visa in 2012 which gave non-EU students the right to remain in the UK for two years after graduation has resulted in a massive dip in Indian students going to British universities to study.