International students opting to quit studies and switch to work visa, say reports: And it is legal to do so in UK
LONDON Dec 8: An increased number of international students in the UK are now quitting studies and switching to work visa before graduating from university, say reports. As per new immigration rules, applicants no longer need to hold a degree level qualification to apply for the skilled worker visa. Students who can secure a job offer from an employer approved by the Home Office, can then apply to switch from the student route visa to the skilled worker visa immediately, without any need to complete their degree. According to PIE News, students are opting for this route since it offers a cheaper and faster pathway to full-time employment in the UK. The graduate route, on the other hand, requires students to pay expensive course fees and maintenance for the duration of their course, before entering the jobs market. According to a report in The Indian Express more and more students are shifting their visa in the UK as there is a huge demand for skilled workers in certain fields such as healthcare, homecare etc. According to this report, around 10 percent of students have already got their visas converted to skilled worker visas and they are taking up regular jobs. A student recruitment firm consultant confirms to The Indian Express that the process is legal. Those who are eligible for such jobs as per the requirements of the company that they are applying into, can get their visas converted from student to skilled worker, he added. He added that such students can get a work permit for a particular period, which may be for two years or even five. “They can further extend the permit depending on their future employer. So far around 90% students are completing their courses but the trend of shifting visas is increasing,” he said, adding that most students who have shifted their visa are from healthcare and nursing background. Hence, they are also eligible for such skilled work. He added that since the UK wants skilled workers and if some students are fulfilling those conditions then there is no hitch in converting the visas as these students are legal emigrant to the UK. On being asked if it is beneficial for the students, the consultant tells Indian Express reporter that it is quite beneficial for students who want their work permits faster. “There are several students whose main aim is to work in the UK and not study and if they can get their visas converted, they don’t need to complete the entire course for which they need to pay semester-wise. Hence, save up a huge amount of money (any 2-3 year degree course requires around Rs 30 to 40 lakh per student),” he said, adding that some students are already qualified in healthcare sector in India and their main aim is to come to the UK and get jobs but take the study visa route, which is more easy to get. At the time of the admission students state their main intention is to complete their studies successfully and end up in future careers as per their personal statements not migration. However, reports say that there is a growing trend in students switching to the work visa route. According to Kerala based student recruitment firm based in the UK, student route is not a proper way to migrate so if they think that their professions are in the shortage occupation list its better to meet all the professional registration requirements and come straight to that role. For example, Nursing, if they want to work as a registered nurse in the UK, they can meet the IELTS conditions and CBT and apply for a sponsorship and follow as per the employers’ guidelines. Taking a look at the UK government website as it states as below: Click to Know More About How To Switch To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must: work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations be paid a minimum salary - how much depends on the type of work you do You must also be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You’ll usually need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply. You cannot apply to switch to this visa if you’re currently in the UK: on a visit visa on a short-term student visa on a Parent of a Child Student visa on a seasonal worker visa on a domestic worker in a private household visa on immigration bail because you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, for example on compassionate grounds How much will it cost When you apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you’ll need to have enough money to: pay the application fee - the standard fee ranges from £625 to £1,423 depending on your circumstances pay the healthcare surcharge - this is usually £624 per year You’ll pay a lower application fee if your job is on the shortage occupation list. If you’re applying from inside the UK to extend, switch or update your visa, the standard fee depends on whether you’ll be in the UK for: up to 3 years - £719 per person more than 3 years - £1,423 per person If you’ve been in the UK for less than 1 year, you’ll also need to prove you have enough money to support yourself- you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available in your bank account. You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.