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UK relaxes international students to switch to work visa from January 2018


(G.N.S.) Dt. 27


While foreign workers in the US are evidently bracing up for tougher visa norms in 2018, it looks like things are likely to get better for those in the UK. Come January 11, and the UK will welcome a new set of immigration laws, under which international students will find it much easier to switch to work visas in the country.

As per the new law, international students in the UK will be able to switch over to Tier-2 visa as soon as they complete their course, in contrast to the current regulation, under which they have to wait until they get their degree, reported the Times of India.

Only once the international students get their degree or their scores for their thesis are they eligible to apply for the work visa. International students get the Tier-4 visa, which is valid for the duration of the course and a few months more and in case the students are not able to find work during this time, they are forced to return to their home country. However, this will change after the new norm comes into force.

“The new rule will enable them to apply for a Tier-2 visa a few months earlier than what would otherwise have been possible,” a newsletter by EY-UK explained. The decision comes after a lot of discussion between the government and various universities in the UK. London Mayor Sadiq Khan too had pushed for the cause and had also supported a new category of work visa, under which international students would be able to work in the UK for 12-24 months after receiving their degree.

However, things are different in the US as the nation is set to impose tougher restrictions on H-1B visas. The Department of Homeland Security is now planning to revive a rule proposed in 2011, under which companies aiming to hire foreign workers under the H-1B visa will need to pre-register for the same.

The visas have an annual cap of 85,000 and petitioners will be selected on a random basis, most probably through a lottery system, by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The new system is likely to come into effect in February 2018.

The Trump administration also plans to introduce a measure, through which spouses of foreign workers would not be able to work in the United States. Earlier, H-4 visa holders were not given work permit in the US, but the regulation was changed under the Barrack Obama government and certain H-4 dependent spouses were allowed to work if one of these conditions were satisfied:

1) Have an approval I-140, which is the immigration petition for foreign citizens to get a Green Card or Permanent Residency in the US.

2) Have H-1B visa status extended beyond six years under AC21 Act, which allows H-1B holders seeking Green Card to work and stay in the US beyond six years, if their Green Card or Permanent Residency application is pending.

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