University graduate in seven-year battle with Home Office after being ‘robbed’ of post-study visa

A graduate of a UK university is embroiled in a seven-year legal battle with the Home Office after the promise of a post-study work visa was “robbed” from her just weeks before she completed her degree. The Independent reports

Mahe Henadeerage decided to leave Sri Lanka and pay tens of thousands of pounds to study in the UK after she was told she woud have two years to amass work experience after finishing her course.

But in April 2012, the government scrapped the post-study work visa, which allowed international students to stay in the UK and work for up to two years after graduation.

“I feel like my entire future has been robbed. The best part of my 20s have been in limbo fighting for something that should’ve been an obvious solution.”

Earlier this month, the home secretary said he backed an amendment tabled by former universities minister Jo Johnson to allow international students to stay in the UK for up to two years.

Sajid Javid called for an end to the four-month restriction introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary, adding that it made no sense to send “some of the brightest and most enterprising people in the world straight home after their time here”.

But organisations representing universities and students say it does not go far enough, and they argue a two-year visa must be reintroduced to send a more “welcoming” message to overseas students.

Manish Khatri, co-founder of the Post-study Work Visa Now campaign, said international students were now looking to study in Australia, Canada and the US, rather than the UK, because of the limited offer.

On the six-month extension, he said: “I don’t think it will make a difference. The employer will look at it and see that they only have six months on their visa max. It doesn’t help much in the long run.”

Mahe Henadeerage added: “There needs to be some sort of accountability. You can’t swindle people. You can’t say there’s one thing and then when we arrive here with that trust it’s a different story.

“They used the post-study two-year work visa as a marketing tool and a promotion. I felt like I had been tricked and robbed of the opportunity and money.”

A recent report from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) estimates that £150m in revenue is lost each year because of the government’s restrictions on post-graduation employment in 2012.

Read the full article University graduate in seven-year battle with Home Office after being ‘robbed’ of post-study visa

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