TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, said today that the UK should aim to grow its share of the international student market and that international students should be removed from the Government’s net migration target. TIGA made the comments following the Migration Advisory Committee’s publication of a range of recommendations to the Government regarding the future of international students in the UK.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is tasked with advising the Government on migration issues and makes recommendations on future policy. It is set to release another report on migrant workers and their role in the UK economy in the coming weeks. The Government will respond to the MAC’s recommendations.
The MAC recommended:
- To retain no cap on the numbers of international students
- Government and the sector should continue to work together to grow the number of international students.
- International students should not be removed from the net migration statistics.
- Rules of work while study and dependent rights should remain unchanged.
- Widening of the window in which applications for switches from Tier 4 to Tier 2 can be made.
- Post-study leave period extended to six months for Master’s students, though with a more thorough review of whether this is appropriate.
- The 12 months leave to remain after PhD completion to be incorporated into the original visa duration, subject to meeting progress requirements and course completion, for eligibility to remain in the UK after course end date. This would replace the existing Doctoral Extension scheme that allows the same rights but has to be applied for with associated visa costs.
- Previous Tier 4 students, who passed their Level 6 (or above) qualification in the UK, should be entitled to a two-year period during which they can apply out-of-country for a Tier 2 visa, under the same rules as current in country Tier 4 to Tier 2 switches
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, Chief Executive of TIGA, stated:
“We welcome the Committee’s overall message which encourages greater openness towards international students. Particularly, we agree with the recommendations that would make it easier for international students to work in the UK, contributing to our economy. The UK video games industry needs highly skilled workers to compete effectively.
“The Government should go further than the MAC’s recommendations. We need to stop sending mixed messages and remove international students from the Government’s net migration target. The UK seeks to attract more international students to UK universities, but at the same time they count towards a net migration target of under 100,000.
“We will continue to work with the MAC and the Government to ensure that the video games industry has a healthy supply of skilled workers.”