The UK government this month provided some good news for international students planning to pursue their education in Britain, announcing a new two-year, post-study work visa that will help them get their careers underway after graduating.
Overseas students are an important target market for investors in purpose-built student accommodation, partly because they are often willing to pay higher-than-average rents for housing that provides all the amenities they need and is in a convenient location.
The announcement of the post-study visa is the latest in a series of encouraging signs for this particular segment of the student population. In the spring, the government confirmed details of its International Education Strategy, the aim of which is to bring 30 per cent more overseas students to the UK.
UCAS figures published in February 2019 showed that a record 63,690 people from outside the EU had applied to study in the UK, an increase of nine per cent from a year earlier. EU applications rose by one per cent to 43,890, despite the ongoing questions around Brexit.
The two-year post-study work visa is part of the graduate immigration route, which will be open to all international students who have valid UK immigration status and have successfully completed their studies at undergraduate level or above.
It will allow eligible individuals to work, or seek work, at any skill level and in any subject.
One of the key aims of the initiative is to bring more valuable international talent into the UK, cementing the country’s status as a “science superpower” and a world leader in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sector.
Home secretary Priti Patel said: “The new graduate route will mean talented international students, whether in science and maths or technology and engineering, can study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they go on to build successful careers.
“It demonstrates our global outlook and will ensure that we continue to attract the best and brightest.”
This is certainly encouraging news for investors, who will view an expanding pool of international tenants as a hugely positive sign for the future of the UK student property market.
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