Are international graduates a boon to the UK job market? For Indian students aspiring to study in the UK, the news from overseas should see them in high spirits. Going by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Kaplan International Pathways (Kaplan) report, the tax and national insurance payments of just one cohort of international students who stay in the UK to work after their studies amounts to £3.2 billion. The report additionally indicates that international graduates who find employment in the UK do so in sectors that suffer from acute skills shortages instead of displacing domestic graduates. It is a misconception that international graduates are taking away jobs and a burden on taxpayers, feels Chris Day, vice chancellor, Newcastle University (NCL), which is among the top 10 in the UK for graduate employability. The university is hoping that the two-year post-study visa – as opposed to the present 6 months visa – is reinstituted; the duration though could be longer if the graduates get a £30,000 pounds salary. In the case of the latter, NCL is lobbying for the salary threshold to come down since there are high skill jobs where the pay scales are much lower.
“We have been an endorsing body, since 2012, for the current Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa route (changing to the Startup visa route from April 2019), which provides international graduates with up to two years leave to remain in the UK to start a business. Over 50 international graduates have been supported by us through this route, many have gone to secure longer leave to establish their business both in the UK and in their home countries,” says Day while talking to Education Times in the UK.
Presently, in the light of the political uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Day claims that the university is preparing for all eventualities, right from registering its research programmes with UKRI (United Kingdom Research and Innovation) wherein the funding for research initiatives will be pushed through, to underwriting the Erasmus programme to protect the interests of its researchers and scholars. “Universities and businesses in Newcastle are also backing calls for a new visa to allow qualified international students to work after graduation. The visa would allow a wider range of employers to benefit from access to skilled graduates from around the world, making Newcastle a more attractive destination for international students, while supporting the local businesses,” says Day.
The university, for long, has been admitting international students who have genuine interests (and not a huge list of extra-curricular activities) along with the ability to communicate ideas. If at the undergraduate level, students’ academic background (in standard XI-XII) is a key pre-requisite, for postgraduate degrees, the university experience counts foremost. “Currently, there are over 220 students from India studying at NCL, making them one of the largest cohorts of international students at our institution. Many of our 214,000 alumni, including a great number (around 1300) in India, are at the forefront of thinking in sectors as diverse as digital technology, finance, and fine art,” Day informs.
As part of the university’s education strategy, the institution is trying to acquire a liberal arts approach to address crucial problems of global employability. “We would emphasise on interdisciplinary education and research, in part through our Newcastle University Centres of Research Excellence (NUCoREs) but also through Centres for Doctoral Training and by developing a new interdisciplinary school,” Day says.
Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships valued between £1,500 – £5,000 are awarded as tuition fee discounts to eligible undergraduate and postgraduate applicants
Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship – There are 13 such scholarships with 50% tuition fee discounts and 2 full tuition fee discounts available to undergraduate and postgraduate applicants from India. Closing dates for applications are February, April and June
Newcastle University Overseas Research Scholarship – Postgraduate research students from India can apply for this scholarship scheme which provides the difference between home and international fees for the duration of the programme
External Scholarship Schemes NCL in conjunction with the British Council, Commonwealth Commission and the Chevening Commission provides full or partial scholarships to high calibre Indian students. The schemes include: British Council India GREAT Scholarship Scheme, British Council India 70th Anniversary Scholarship, Commonwealth Scholarships and Chevening Scholarships
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