The UKBA’s current position in relation to the tier 1 post study work route is that it will close to new applicants in April 2012 and that those who wish to undertake post study work after then will need to have a sponsor under tier 2. The agency has said that it is also looking at creating a student entrepreneur route, the details of which have not been announced.

The agency’s current position is that those graduating with a UK degree, PGCE or PGDE will be able to switch, without being subject to the limits on tier 2 or the RLMT, providing they are going to be paid the minimum rate, currently suggested to be £20,000, or the minimum rate set out in the relevant code of practice.

However, the Statement of Intent in relation to students, which was published on 31 March 2011, states that the Government will monitor the numbers switching into tier 2. It states that, if necessary, the MAC will be consulted on 'how to address any abuse (including the subsequent imposition of a limit)…' This means that if too many legitimate students apply to enter tier 2 then this ‘abuse’ may lead to restrictions. It is important that employers, universities, business schools and prospective students are given more certainty about post study work options if the UK is to remain attractive to the ‘brightest and the best’ students.