MAC suggests keeping the UK's graduate route

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended keeping the UK’s graduate route as it is. This is a big win for the UK’s international education sector and will reassure those working with international students about their study options abroad.

The MAC highlighted that the rule change banning student dependants, enacted in January 2024, has already negatively impacted student demand. Additionally, upcoming amendments to salary thresholds for skilled worker routes, accessible after the two-year graduate route, are expected to further reduce demand.

“The MAC’s recommendation to maintain the Graduate route on its current terms is extremely important and welcome. The uncertainty caused by the decision to review the visa has been toxic,” said Vivienne Stern, chief executive of Universities UK, in a statement.

“We hope and expect the government will listen to the advice given and provide categorical reassurance that the Graduate visa is here to stay.

“We understand the political pressure to reduce migration, but as the report makes clear, changes introduced earlier this year to prevent postgraduate taught students from bringing dependents have already had a very significant effect,” Stern added.


If the government were to significantly restrict the route, “it should only do so once the full impact of the change to the dependants rules on the student route and therefore the graduate route can be seen and once it has addressed the current HE funding model which is driving the dependence on international student fees,” the report states.

In simple terms, the report says, “the Graduate route was introduced to enhance the offer to international students who choose, or are considering choosing, to study in the UK.

“The Graduate route has broadly achieved, and continues to achieve, the objectives set by this government.”

The review highlights the financial vulnerability of many universities and the HE sector's dependence on international student fees, noting that any restrictions could jeopardise these institutions.

The MAC reprimanded the government for claiming in its commissioning letter that most international students were switching to the skilled worker route for care work. “Our data does not show Graduate visa holders switching to work routes. The statement in the commissioning letter about where Graduate visa holders work post-route is therefore incorrect.”

Although the committee found no significant abuse of the graduate route, it expressed concern about universities in certain markets overusing recruitment agents who provide misleading information to prospective international students.

The committee acknowledged the sector’s independent Agent Quality Framework, which nearly 16,000 agents from 126 countries have joined. However, it recommended replacing this with a mandatory government registration system for international agents and subagents.

SI-UK, a leading student recruitment company, welcomed the news. CEO Rob Grimshaw stated, “There is global competition for talent, and the UK benefits greatly when ambitious students from around the world choose to study here each year.

“If they come, the UK stands to benefit greatly from their skills and long-term soft power effects,” he said. “As one of the largest providers in the sector, SI has always believed that a focus on quality is important. We are very supportive of the goals of the AQF framework.”

Lil Bremermann-Richard, CEO of Oxford International Education Group, expressed to The PIE, “The outcome of the MAC Review is clear: the graduate route is effective, shows no evidence of deliberate abuse, and should remain in place in its current form.

“While international students are often used for political gain, it is encouraging to see the MAC recognize the tangible and significant economic and social benefits international students bring to the UK.”

Stuart Smith, CEO of NCUK, remarked that politicising the Graduate Route in the first place was “not helpful to anyone.”

“NCUK fully supports the independent recommendation of the Migration Advisory Committee that the Graduate Route remain in place in its current form. We urge the Government to quickly accept this recommendation,” he added.

Source: PIE NEWS

Are you looking to study abroad?

Touch your dream with University Admission Expert

  • Offering 15,000+ courses at 100+ study locations
  • Maintaining 99% visa success rate
  • Serving with 14+ years accumulative admission experience
  • Providing end-to-end services, almost 24/7
Check your admission eligibility now

Newsletter Subscription

Keep up to date with the latest news on UK student visa, courses, universities, scholarships, start dates, study guides etc.

Post Comment

Login to post comment
No comment found in this fourm