Several students in the UK are getting their student visas converted into skilled worker visas and are abandoning their studies just after a few months of entering the country. Some reports have mentioned that due to the shortage of manpower in several sectors in the UK, there are ample job opportunities and several students from India, who are eligible for these jobs are opting for it. What is this trend and why students are doing so, The Indian Express explains:
How many students are getting their student visas converted into to skilled worker visas?
Educational consultants said that more and more students are shifting their visa in the UK as there is a huge demand for skilled workers in certain fields such as healthcare, homecare etc. At present, around 10% of students have already got their visas converted to skilled worker visas and they are taking up regular jobs.
Is this legal?
Chitresh Dhawan, owner of Dhawan Educational Consultancy which is one of the oldest educational consultancies in Punjab, said that the process is legal. Those who are eligible for such jobs as per the requirements of the company that they are applying into, can get their visas converted from student to skilled worker, he added. Dhawan added that such students can get a work permit for a particular period, which may be for two years or even five.
“They can further extend the permit depending on their future employeer. So far around 90% students are completing their courses but the trend of shifting visas is increasing,” Dhawan said, adding that most students who have shifted their visa are from healthcare and nursing background. Hence, they are also eligible for such skilled work.
He added that since the UK wants skilled workers and if some students are fulfilling those conditions then there is no hitch in converting the visas as these students are legal emigrant to the UK.
Is it beneficial for the students?
Consultant Gurpreet Singh said that it is quite beneficial for students who want their work permits faster. “There are several students whose main aim is to work in the UK and not study and if they can get their visas converted, they don’t need to complete the entire course for which they need to pay semester-wise. Hence, save up a huge amount of money (any 2-3 year degree course requires around Rs 30 to 40 lakh per student),” he said, adding that some students are already qualified in healthcare sector in India and their main aim is to come to the UK and get jobs but take the study visa route, which is more easy to get.
A Jalandhar-based consultant said, “One of my clients was a qualified nurse here but she went to the UK in January this year on a study visa and after landing there, she got her visa converted to that of a skilled workers’ and now she has left her course and is working full time.” He added that even though it is an easy and legal way to get into the UK and start earning, but universities/colleges where these students enrolled into are at the losing end. “Another client of mine will go to the UK during the January intake and she is a qualified nurse. While she also wants to convert her visa and start earning, she will also continue with her studies and take up a different less time consuming course,” he said.
The British High Commission had recently revealed that the UK has issued 1,17,965 sponsored study visas to Indian students in one year till June 2022, which is an increase of 215% compared to 2019 when only 37,396 sponsored study visas were issued.