Immigration rules hit part II students
Overseas architecture graduates must earn over £20,000 or leave the country
Foreign architecture students will need to earn at least £20,000 a year if they want to stay in the UK once they have graduated.
The new rules, which come into force on April 6, are expected to affect overseas part II graduates the most because of salary variations from region to region.
David Gloster, the RIBA’s director of education, said: “The RIBA will emphasise this concern, using its research to argue that the immigration salary threshold for post part II placements must be in line with norms for remuneration in the profession as a whole.”
The new rules are part of the government’s plan to cut net immigration — the numbers entering the UK less those leaving — to less than 100,000 by 2015.
It has long seen overseas student visas — those issued to people from outside the EU — as being used as a cover for work. Immigration minister Damian Green said: “In the past, too many students have come to the UK to work rather than study and this abuse must end.”
In 2010, student visas were issued to 238,000 out of 591,000 immigrants.
Gloster said part I graduates would be less affected, saying: “Post part I graduates on their year out are not interns. From an immigration standpoint, overseas students on their year out may retain their status as students as work placements are permitted for which there is no minimum threshold.”
Overseas growth areas for recruiting students include China, India and South America. The head of Greenwich University’s architecture school, Neil Spiller, previously vice head at the Bartlett, warned that students from these places would be hit.
“The students at the Bartlett, doing their part IIs, 85% of them were from overseas,” he said. “We probably have the best architectural system in the world and some of the best practices in the world. That’s why they come here.”
An alternative to the £20,000 threshold will see “graduate entrepreneurs” allowed to remain if they can prove they have attracted £50,000 of investment for a small business venture.
The government has drawn up outline guidance of the rule changes but will unveil more detailed plans next month.