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Migration Advisory Committee says Graduate route should be kept in its current form

The Migration Advisory Committee has today published its “rapid review” of the Graduate route, concluding that the route is not being abused and should remain in place in its current form. The letter from the Chair states:

We have not found evidence of widespread abuse on the Graduate route, where we define abuse as deliberate non-compliance with immigration rules, and we conclude that the route is not undermining the integrity and quality of the UK higher education system. However, we have reason to believe that some agents and subagents recruiting international students are mis-selling UK higher education and exploiting students in the process. We expect the impact on public finances of Graduate visa holders on the route to be small but positive, as most appear to work, are young, and have no recourse to public funds.

Three recommendations were made:

  • that the Graduate route is retained in its current form
  • that a mandatory registration system is set up for international recruitment agents and subagents and that universities should be required to publish annual data how much they have spent on recruitment agents and the number of international students who are recruited this way
  • recommendations on data and monitoring for the route and the wider immigration system, including that the government only opens new routes or makes significant policy changes when it has a plan for how it will collect and monitor data to assess the effectiveness of the route and understand wider impacts

The Home Office has today published “Analysis of migrants use of the Graduate route” which they say “seeks to complement” the committee’s report.

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Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan is an experienced immigration, asylum and public law solicitor. She has been practising for over ten years and was previously legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and legal and policy director at Rainbow Migration. Sonia is the Editor of Free Movement.

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