The Migration Advisory Committee’s rapid review of the Graduate route

In March 2024, the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to conduct a rapid review of the Graduate route in the UK. The graduate route allows students to stay for 2 years (or 3 years for PhD students) after graduation. Following months of speculation, the MAC’s report published on 14 May 2024, recommends that the route remains in place in its current form.

The MAC found no evidence of widespread abuse of the graduate route by international students and cautions that restricting the route could severely damage the viability of UK universities. Contrary to claims of exploitation, the risks are considered low. According to the MAC the Graduate route does not undermine the integrity and quality of the UK higher education system but, instead, aligns with the Government’s International Education Strategy. The route is helping universities expand the range of courses they can offer while making up for financial losses on domestic students and research. Changes to Graduate Route could threaten UK universities’ viability, warns the MAC. First, the Government will likely fail to achieve the target set in the International Education Strategy. Second, universities across the nations of the UK will experience further substantial financial difficulty leading to job losses, course closures and a reduction in research, and in the extreme it is not inconceivable that some institutions would fail. 

The Government has not yet indicated whether it will accept the recommendations of the review. The Government has said that it is considering the review’s findings very closely” and will respond fully in due course. The MAC’s positive stance on the route and recommendations for the visa route to remain in its current form is possibly the strongest steer that the MAC could offer the Government to leave the popular visa route alone. Hopefully the Government will take this into consideration in their response.

If you have any questions regarding the Migration Advisory Committee of the Graduate visa route, please get in contact with Iram Noordin.

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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