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International students in the United Kingdom will be able to stay and work for two years after graduation under a new policy announced Tuesday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, The Telegraph reported. Currently international students are only able to stay in the U.K. for four months after they graduate.
The announcement represents a policy reversal. A previous program that allowed international students to work for two years after they graduated was eliminated in 2012.
University leaders welcomed the new policy, which will go into effect in 2021. “For too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the U.K. has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students,” said Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK.
Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch UK, criticized the move. "Our universities are attracting a record number of overseas students so there is no need to devalue a study visa by turning it into a backdoor route for working here," Mehmet said.