A group of four international students looking at a laptop

December 21, 2023, by NUBS Postgraduate Careers

New immigration policies and the impact on international students

We know that many of our international students have lots of questions following the recent announcements about changes to the UK’s immigration policy.  There is lots of uncertainty at the moment, so we thought that this blog from experienced career professional Claire Guy would be useful to share with you all.

Dear International students and graduates in the UK

Given the recent UK government announcements about proposed changes to immigration policies, you are probably feeling the same shock, disappointment and concern that many university careers teams are feeling too. If you aren’t aware of the changes yet, Thal Vasishta’s (CEO of Paragon Law) article summarises them well.

It’s natural to feel concerned, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this journey. University careers teams across the UK have a long history of helping students through career challenges, including economic recessions, global crises like COVID-19, and now, future immigration policy changes.

Firstly, let’s address something important: news headlines. The UK is well known for its sensationalist reporting. Sometimes, news can sound scarier than it really is. The media often makes things seem worse than they are. When you read news coverage try to think critically about what you are reading. This recent focus on immigration is political and connected to government party tactics. Political decisions like immigration policies don’t reflect the general feeling of people in the UK towards international students. Please don’t let this make you feel unwelcome here.

Instead of relying on news stories, stay informed using reputable sources that give accurate updates regarding the changes and how they might impact international students and graduates. The UK Council for International Student Affairs will make sure any changes are captured in their guides to working after studies. You could also follow immigration specialists on LinkedIn such as Thal (CEO of Paragon Law) and Adam Oxborrow | LinkedIn (Immigration Consultant).

One key thing to know is that although announcements have been made, the details are not clear yet. News travels fast, and friends and family from home might be asking you questions about what these changes mean. Nobody knows the details of the new Immigration Rules yet. We only know the Government’s intentions. We know that the Migration Advisory Committee has been asked to review the Graduate visa – but again, we do not know yet what the outcome will be.

Patience is key here. The situation is evolving, and it’s important to wait for further clarity and detail from official sources (not the media) before drawing conclusions or making any big decisions about your future. Further details will be available when the government publishes a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, although we may need to wait until March 2024 for this.

Having a Plan B is always a smart move. While you continue your studies or job search, you could explore alternative options. There are lots of them! Your academic studies, experiences in the UK, brilliant cultural and language skills and huge bravery in coming to a new country will benefit your future whatever happens with the immigration rules. Chat to your careers team if you want to explore different scenarios and backup plans.

Your feelings are important. It’s tough when things are uncertain. But taking care of yourself is key. Universities have counselling services, support networks, and resources in place to help you manage stress and anxiety.

Try not to let this overshadow your UK experience! Christmas is close and there are so many wonderful cultural experiences to be had – many which are free! You could attend a carol service in a church, walk around your neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights and decorations, or try a Christmas pudding! These small things can lift your spirits.

Importantly, remember that universities are committed to supporting their international students and graduates. They have a strong interest in your success and well-being. They will try to help as much as possible – you just need to ask.

In summary, keep calm, stay informed through reliable sources, take care of your mental health, and consider alternative plans. The road ahead might seem uncertain, but you have a support system and resources available to help you. Ask for help. Most universities can still offer support after your course has ended- reach out and ask.

Remember, you’re strong and can handle these changes. You’ve got this!

Originally posted on LinkedIn by Claire Guy, Experienced Careers Professional | International Students & PGTs 

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

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