There is a tendency to assume that Brexit means the UK has become increasingly hostile to immigrants, and thus to individuals looking to study and eventually find a job in the UK. Boris Johnson, the current UK Prime Minister, however, has always emphasized that Brexit was a way to move the UK towards a “Global Britain”.
One of the implied planks of “Global Britain” is to attract and retain skilled individuals from across the globe. Elite UK educational institutions such as the 900-year-old University of Oxford play an important role in this vision of Britain, and the current government’s plans to implement Global Britain are coming into focus.
The scale-up visa, expected to launch in the spring of 2022, will be a way for high-growth start-ups in the UK to hire “academically elite” individuals from across the globe, without having to go through the bureaucratic hurdles of formally sponsoring someone.
MBA and Master’s aspirants for UK universities often start their essays by describing their goal to join a start up after graduating, and with these moves such narratives will seem a lot more credible. The visa is expected to allow visa-holders to change jobs and employers making the UK a lot more attractive for those who want to study and then find a job abroad.
That’s not all. The UK government has also announced plans for a “High Potential Individual Visa”. It is expected to be “open to applicants who have graduated from a top global university”. Importantly the visa isn’t even expected to require a job offer, giving visa-holders a lot of flexibility with respect to finding and switching jobs, or starting up their own venture.
The government hasn’t explained what will qualify as a “top global university” but the bar is expected to be set relatively low: anyone graduating from the top 100 universities of a particular subject may be eligible. The Oxford Saïd MBA and the LBS Master’s in Financial Analysis are two of the more popular programs amongst our clients. Applicants can now reasonably expect to go through these programs, network with potential venture capitalists, and launch their own start-up, without having to worry about their immigration status.
For those seeking a higher education abroad the global backlash against immigration has been worrying. These fears are somewhat overblown: the backlash is primarily against unskilled migrants, not those with high-value skills. Moreover, anecdotal stories of graduates struggling to find immigration status or jobs abroad typically come from those who have attended second-rate institutions who grant admission to almost anybody but offer little in the way of education or post-graduation career support.
Similarly, contrary to popular perceptions, post-Brexit the UK government is seeking to increase the number of foreigners who attend their universities and then find jobs in its companies.
Feel free to reach out to discuss your education plans and how recent moves in UK laws are likely to affect you.