TIGA, the trade association representing the UK video games industry, today welcomed the Government’s decision to allow international students to remain in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years after they have completed their studies. TIGA made the comments following a statement made by the Government.
On March 4 2021, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Department, Kevin Foster, made a statement before the House of Commons on changes to UK immigration rules.
The changes covered in Foster’s speech are reflected in the policy paper, Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules, which was released yesterday.
In his address to the commons, Foster announced several changes to immigration policy which could be pertinent to the UK video games sector.
The Home Office will open a Graduate route to enable international students to remain in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years after they have completed their studies. This period increases to three years for doctoral students. The route will open on 1 July 2021.
All international students who have successfully completed an undergraduate degree or higher and who have valid Student or Tier 4 permission, will be able to apply.
The Home Office is making changes to accommodate the launch of the new Graduate route. Firstly, they will expand the definition of a new entrant to include those switching from the Graduate route. Time spent in the Graduate route will count towards the maximum period of four years for which a person can be considered a new entrant. Secondly, the Home Office is making a change so those previously on the Student or Graduate routes, who make a short visit to the UK, do not disqualify themselves from being considered a new entrant.
Shortage Occupation List
The Home Office is adding eight occupations in the health and care sector as well as modern language teachers to the UK-wide Shortage Occupation List.
Foster announced further immigration policy changes in the form of salary thresholds. These are to include a minimum hourly rate to safeguard against employers who may require employees to work longer hours to make up for the lower rates of pay. To avoid anyone losing their job as a result of the change.
Foster announced a transitional arrangement for those already on the Skilled Worker route in a job paying less than the minimum £10.10 per hour.
Under new policy, if a sponsor wishes to reduce a salary based on a different set of tradeable points, a new application will be required. This ensures the Home Office has assessed and confirmed that the Skilled Worker continues to meet the requirement of the route.
Global Talent Route
Finally, the Home Office is making changes to the Global Talent route to enable exceptional applicants to bypass the endorsement requirement and instead qualify if they have received a prestigious prize. An initial list of prizes is available here.
TIGA CEO, Dr Richard Wilson OBE, commented:
“TIGA strongly supports the principle of allowing international students studying at UK universities to work at UK businesses after graduation. We back, therefore, the Government’s decision to open a Graduate route to enable international students to remain in the UK to work following graduation. International graduates are a vital source of the high-skilled talent which the UK video games industry requires to continue to thrive. We also back the introduction of a new Global Talent route for migrants.
“The UK video games industry is a creative, high technology, high skills, export focused industry. It is essential that the sector can access the best global talent so that it can continue to contribute to the success of the UK economy.”
TIGA’s full summary of the UK’s new immigration system is available here.