Tag Archives: international students

EU Immigration Authorities Can Only Refuse a Student Visa if a Person is a Risk to National Security

International students wishing to study in the European Union should not be denied a student visa by local authorities if they satisfy European entry requirements says the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This ruling comes with major implications for foreign students hoping to study at European universities.

The ruling
The ruling, published in September 2014 by the ECJ, concerns Mohamed Ali Ben Alaya, a Tunisian student who had been accepted to study mathematics at the Technical University of Dortmund and applied to the German authorities for a student visa.

The German immigration authorities refused his visa, saying that his grades weren’t high enough and he wouldn’t have time to learn German to an adequate standard before the course began.

Ben Alaya brought his case to the administrative court in Berlin, which in turn consulted the ECJ on the validity of the refusal. The Berlin court wanted to know if the German Immigration authorities were allowed to refuse his visa even though Mohamed Ali Ben Alaya fulfilled all the minimum requirements laid out by a 2004 European Commission directive on students from outside the EU.

Basically, the Berlin Court wanted to know if the Directive set up an exhaustive list of minimum requirements to meet or if national governments could add more requirements on top.

The applicant claimed to have proven that he met all the requirements, including the availability of financial resources; as for his proficiency in German, he claimed that he had mastered the language well enough to study mathematics, and that the entry level course was sufficient to bridge any gaps.

The ECJ concluded that the German authorities should have accepted the student visa, since the applicant appeared to meet the requirements of the EU’s current directive on non-EU students and did not pose a threat to public policy, security or health.

The Directive
The Directive was set out to promote the European Union as a “world centre of excellence for studies and vocational training.”

Requirements for non-EU students set out by the Directive are:

  • holding a valid passport or ID;
  • subscribing to an EU recognised health insurance programme;
  • to not be regarded as a threat to public policy, public security or public health;
  • have been accepted by an establishment of higher education to follow a course of study;
  • provide the evidence that during his/her stay he/she will have sufficient resources to cover his/her subsistence (amount determined by each country), study and return travel costs (i.e a paid flight/train ticket back to the country of origin);

and if the member state requires, provide evidence of

  • sufficient knowledge of the language of the course to be followed by him/her;
  • the applicant has paid the fee for processing the application;
  • the applicant has paid the fees charged by the establishment.

Implications for future foreign students
The ruling has significant implications for non-EU students looking to study in Europe.

First, it states that requirements to apply to study in Europe have been established exhaustively by the Directive, so that national government cannot add further requirements. Indeed, the aim of the directive was to harmonise access to EU Universities for non-EU students.

Secondly, the EU court confirms national authorities can only refuse a student visa if a person is a risk or a threat to public security and the rest falls into the hands of higher education establishments. So when it comes to a student’s language skills, which under the directive must be adequate before admission can be granted, it is the university’s opinion that counts.

While the right to come study in Europe is not too controversial, it is possible that EU countries will try regain more control by setting up quotas of student visa or restrain access to the local labour market. The UK, Ireland and Denmark are not concerned by the Directive.

Source: http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-09/cp140120en.pdf

English Taught Bachelor Degrees Offered in Germany

Here is the list of most exciting and innovative English taught courses available at German Public institutions next year – which means that no tuition fees are required to enrol and no German is required to study them!

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Bachelor of Arts in Agribusiness at Rhine-Waal University
The BA Agribusiness trains you in business economics and management skills that will equip you to successfully manage agricultural and food supply chains in the face of these global challenges.

Admin fees: Approx. 260 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 700EUR per month

561c75806b.jpgInternational Business Management at Berlin School of Economics and Law
The International Business Management programme combines classic business administration content with international and intercultural aspects.
This international focus is similarly evident in the language of instruction, with all lectures and seminars held in English throughout the entire programme. In addition, students have to learn German as a second language parallel to the economics and business modules.

Admin fees: Approx. 280EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 850EUR per month

Students of the BA Ökonomie or Teacher Training International Business Ethics Seminar Winter Term 12:13 .jpg

Bachelor in International Business and Technology at Nuremberg Institute of Technology
An innovative combination of knowledge and experience provided and supported by the faculties of Business Administration, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and the faculty of Applied Mathematics, Physics and Humanities.

Admin fees: Approx. 42 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 800-1000EUR per month


Business and Engineering at University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt
With this course, you will acquire insight into the three areas of modern biotechnology, i.e. red (medicine), green (agriculture) and white (industry) biotechnology; and gain core competencies in the fields of economics, law, communication and presentation, as well as market analysis and marketing research.
Successful graduates find jobs in different areas of the chemical, pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries, in research institutes or governmental agencies, as well as with the food industry, or in agro-technology, environmental or waste management.

Admin fees: Approx. 260 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 800EUR approx per month

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Digital Games at Cologne University of Applied Sciences
You love games and are into writing, audio visual design or coding? This Bachelor is for you.
After a general introduction to the creative and technological process of game development and the academic study of digital games in the first and second semesters, students specialise in Game Arts, Game Design or Game Informatics in the following semesters.
Throughout their studies, students of all specialisations are instructed in Media and Game Studies, and they develop games in collaborative projects.
In the fourth semester, students can choose between an exchange semester at a university abroad, an internship or a self-initiated project.

Admin fees: Approx. 250 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 800EUR approx per month


Communication and Information Engineering, BSc at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences
In today’s world, data acquisition, transfer and analysis are of increasing significance: temperature, air humidity, sound, air pollution, traffic density, blood sugar level, the location of people – all these data and information can be measured, collected and then transmitted across the world by sensors.
This degree course Communication and Information Engineering aims to give you the skills you need to work anywhere from data acquisition, preprocessing, transmission, distribution and collection up to automatic analysis.
You will develop your expertise in the fields of electrical engineering, signal processing and computer science, and will gain a sound understanding of the basics of business management.

Admin fees: Approx. 250 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 800EUR approx per month


Bachelor of Science Textile and Clothing Management at University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein
This seven-semester Bachelor’s degree programme offers an impressive curriculum of subjects in textile and clothing technology and related fields such as chemistry, design and technical textiles and subjects in management and business administration like controlling, fashion retailing logistics, e-Commerce and marketing.
Under the instruction of internationally renowned professors and scientific and well-educated staff, the course guarantees a scientific education oriented on the demands of industrial branches and international business.

Admin fees: Approx. 280 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 600-700EUR approx per month


Jobs for international students in the UK: the myth debunked?

Rumor has it that the government is constantly tightening visa policies – which in turn deters UK employers from hiring foreign nationals and graduates. There is no doubt that bureaucracy deters employers when it comes to hiring foreign graduates, and therefore there are now fewer organisations looking for international recruits.

Rohan Harris, Director at Inter-CV, takes the stand that this is a somewhat misleading outlook, and if anyone actually looks at the statistics they may think differently.

The Impact of the Removal of the Post-Study-Work Visa
While it is true that the removal of the post study work visa has made the search for a job more complicated for international students, employers are still looking and need this talent.

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Difficult times for International graduates?

From the annual Graduate Market study by Highflyers – a review of graduate vacancies and starting salaries from the UK’s top 100 employers, top employers are looking to recruit more graduates and are experiencing a shortage:

  • Recruitment targets revised in January 2014 – 18,264
  • Recruitment targets revised again in July 2014 – 18,753
  • Actual confirmed graduates recruited in December 2014 – 18,129 recruited (743 unfilled vacancies)

Furthermore, 3 out of 5 employers said that they were working to achieve diversity targets for their graduate recruitment, such as the number of women and/or ethnic minority applicants.

  • A quarter of the country’s leading employers have increased their graduate recruitment budget from the previous year
  • The largest growth in graduate vacancies is expected in public sector organisations, armed forces, retailers, banking and finance, accounting and professional services firms.
  • The research showed that 61% of the top graduate employers said that one of their challenges is achieving their diversity targets. This is ranked 2nd in their overall list of challenges for 2015

If you are an International Student looking for a job, this is good news and tells you to look for and knock on the doors of companies with visible diversity targets – they may see you as a way to meet their targets.


Migreat is hosting an immigration event in London next week to help foreign engineering graduates navigate the UK immigration system and meet employers of tech companies recruiting. Grab your ticket now – seats are limited. 

For more information on the topic of job vacancies in the UK, go check Rohan Harris’ profile and newest articles on our Migreat UK Community website.

UK Visa Changes Affecting International Students

A lot of misleading information is being shared on the internet about the new UK immigration rules and how they affect the rights of international students.

At Migreat, as much as we want to keep up to date with the news, we also want to ensure we provide the most reliable and clearest information. Hence, we cannot publish immigration news as it is shared. We wait to hear from several trusted sources to confirm any new information. If Migreat isn’t the fastest to react and write about changes to student visa rules – rest assured that it is because the news hasn’t been verified yet.

Migreat will update our readers with the most up-to-date information and connect you with experts who are abreast of the latest changes and can answer your visa questions.

We recently received a surge of questions from students about the proposed changes and we wanted to take the chance to reply to the most common questions. For each question, we will link to a trusted source for more detailed information The rules are changing only for some international students. It depends on where you are studying. Hence, this is why we are splitting this article into two parts: those at UK universities and those at UK Colleges.

International students at UK universities

How much savings do I need to prove to apply for a student visa? [Starting 12th November 2015]
Starting in November, first time international students and students extending their time will have to prove they have access to significantly more savings than before.

Depending on the length of your course and the location of your university the amount will vary. International students studying in London will have to prove that they have more savings than international students studying outside London. Students will also need to show that they can financially support themselves for up to nine months or the full length of the course, whichever is shorter.

Example: A student studying in London that needs to stay for a nine month course will have to demonstrate that they have at least £11,385 in the bank (that is £1,265 per month). For a student outside of London to study for nine months, the amount needed in the bank is £9,135 (£1,015 per month).


Can I extend my stay on my student visa at the same level? [Starting 3rd August 2015]
If you are extending your stay on a student visa, the new rules state that you will have to show you are moving up a level on the National Qualifications Framework. If you want to extend your studies at the same level you will only be able to do so if the proposed course is linked to the previous one or if it supports your career aspirations (the later if approved and validated by your university).

Can I work after graduation?

Yes, and there are a few work/business long term visas that you can apply for depending on the type of work and the role you have been offered and/or salary you will be paid. You should know that the government is reviewing tier 2 visa minimum salary requirements – and is likely to raise them by at least £10,000.

If you are looking to stay after graduation to work on a tier 2 general visa, it is likely that your company will have to pay more than the current £20,800 minimum annually in order to sponsor you. Verify if you may be eligible for one of the visas via Migreat’s UK visa assistant.

I am the spouse or dependent of an International Student here. Can I work? [Date yet to be confirmed]
A proposal yet to be finalized suggests that spouse and dependants of student visa holders will only be allowed to work in skilled/Highly-skilled full time jobs . This has yet to be confirmed and implemented.

International students at Further Education Colleges

Am I allowed to work part-time while studying? [Starting 3rd August 2015]
No. Students at publicly funded colleges will no longer be allowed to work 10 hours a week after August 2015. Note that this new rule will apply to international students who apply for their tier 4 visa on or after 3 August, but won’t apply retrospectively to students already here.

Can I extend my student visa or switch to a Work visa from within the UK? [Starting November 2015]
No, you will have to apply from outside the UK to make an extension or to apply for a work visa.

Can I extend my studies with any education provider? [Starting 12th November 2015]
You will not be able to extend your studies in the UK unless they are registered at an institution with a formal link to a university.

How Many years maximum can I be granted if I apply for a student visa for a FE college? [Starting 12th November 2015]
Study visas at Further Education level will be cut from three years to two.

Do you have questions about your UK student visa applications and you rights as an international student in the UK? Ask @migreat for answers.

Where International Students to Europe are From

How many migrants come to Europe to study each year? Migreat dug into the data about Europe’s five major education markets and has summed it up in what we think is a beautiful infographic.

Infographic Students to Europe v2-01-01-01

Main circles – Top 10 country of origin
The above infographic depicts the top 10 countries of origin for international students for each of the five major study abroad destinations in Europe.

Each circle represents a country, from the least popular of the five European countries (Spain attracts just 1.5% o international students globally) to the most attractive (the UK attracts 11% of all international students).

The bars on the edge of a circle represent the international student country of origin. The size of the bar is proportional to the volume of international students from that country compared to other nationalities for that single education hub.

You can spot a few countries like China, Morocco, Germany and  Italy – which are major sources of international students to Europe.

Bottom bars – Absolute volumes of International Students to Europe
The bars at the bottom put these proportions in perspective by their absolute values. For example, there are almost 8 times more international students in the UK than in Spain.

Comparing volumes of international students from one country to another instead of nationalities enables everything to be put into perspective.

For example, Indian students are only in the top 10 for the UK. Indians do not appear to be moving to other European hubs in significant numbers to study.

Still, from an absolute numbers perspective, there are more Indians studying abroad in the UK (almost 30,000) than Moroccans (first country of origin of international students to France) studying abroad in France (28,000 approx).

Future of International student immigration to Europe?
With immigration rules for international students in the UK changing and tightening, the volumes and the countries of origin for international students will likely be affected.

Will Indian students start studying in France after the French government confirmed to offer a Post-study work visa for Indians of two years? Or will they move to Germany where the Government is proactively looking to attract Indian workers with a job employment platform built for them to find work in Germany?

What is certain, is that continental Europe has set goals to attract more international students to its universities and for this, they have laid down attractive offers:

Need help with your student visa application? Ask online to Migreat Immigration experts.

Why should I consider an internship in the UK after graduation?

In 2013, the OECD’s Better Life Index described the UK as one of the best countries to live and work in. The UK’s rich history, vibrant culture and worldwide reputation for academic and professional excellence are why many international students from all over the world want to live and work here.

However, with the lack of post-study work opportunities and the current restrictions around work visas, how does one gain this valuable work experience?

The simple answer is to use the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Visa scheme to stay in the UK for a year or two.


The internship visa

The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange visa scheme offers a smart alternative for trainee professionals who wish to come to the UK to share knowledge, best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life – without the bureaucracy and tight rules of Tier 2 work visas.

It allows UK employers to offer work experience programmes to skilled non-EEA graduate recruits who wish to undertake practical work experiences in the UK. It provides an excellent opportunity for both employers and migrant workers to assess their compatibility before both sides commit to a permanent position under alternative visa routes.

Helping international talent stay and gain work experience in the UK: Case study

Kate Andrews, Communications Manager and American Correspondent for Adam Smith Institute, is staying in the UK on this visa scheme.

When I finished my studies at University of St. Andrews, I took some time to figure out what my real interests were, where my skill-set lay, and what I would be most happy doing. The easy part was knowing that I wanted to work in the UK for a think tank in a role that I care deeply about, but the hard part was finding a think tank that had a Tier 2 sponsorship license and would also be willing to sponsor me for a work visa.


Working abroad in a job I was really passionate about wasn’t going to be an option, if it hadn’t been for the Tier 5 GAE Visa scheme. It seemed too simple.

How it works

The Tier 5 sponsor organisation, Access Tier 5 promised to:

  1. a) Fully sponsor me for a 12 months visa;
  2. b) Offer their services for a fraction of what it would cost a company or organization to get a Tier 2 license;
  3. c) Support me every step of the way, from securing my visa to any work or visa related issues that came up throughout the year.

Once I had an official offer from my employer, Access Tier 5 conducted an assessment to ensure that I was eligible for the Tier 5 visa. Once my eligibility was confirmed, every worry was taken off my hands and it was simply a matter of filling in the visa application form, sending my documents to UK Home Office and waiting for the visa to arrive; the whole process took less than 3 weeks.

What you get from it

Tier 5 GAE visa helped me realise my dream placement with the Adam Smith Institute, which has now opened more doors for me than I ever had back over in the States.

Not only can I now say I worked abroad (all employers love to hear that), but I’ve had the opportunity to plan events in Westminster, get quoted in daily newspapers, do TV and radio appearances to advocate for the Institute’s policies, and speak at national conferences as a spokesperson for the Institute.

Every recent graduate has ambitions and skills to offer. New graduates, especially, need to be able to move freely and access all kinds of experiences and resources, and it’s organisations like Access Tier 5 that make all doors open and all opportunities possible.”

Two indian professionals

You never know where an internship might take you. If you want to work in the UK but believe the immigration rules are against you, don’t despair. Although it may appear daunting, Tier 5 GAE visa provides a perfect solution for genuine skilled candidates like Kate who want to stay in the UK to gain work experience.

So, if you are an international student and in a similar case to Kate, get in touch with migreat.com to find out your visa options to stay work in the UK, or if you already have an internship offer, get in touch with member of our team at Access Tier 5 via migreat.com forum to see if we can sponsor you under this route.


 zenia-chopraThis guest blog post is provided to you by Zenia Chopra, Head of Sales & Marketing at Access Tier 5, overarching body of the Tier 5 GAE route and partner of Migreat.com.

International Students are Immigrants too

For International Migrants Day, Migreat is celebrating migration around the world with a blog post a day.

Today, Migreat’s blog looks at a growing category of migrants with a power to influence the world we live in tomorrow: the international students.


International student numbers have doubled since 2000 to reach 4.5 million in 2012. Most international students are heading to developed countries with 75% of them studying in an OECD country.

The battle to attract talent is fierce. International students are estimated to bring net benefits to the economy: international students not only pay full university fees, they also finance a whole industry made of accommodation suppliers, banks and mobile phone providers.

The amount of money spent by Higher Education Universities in the UK to recruit those students is estimated at £57,8 million, for a return of £3,5 billion in tuition fees.

The top countries of destination for international students by numbers are

  • United States (18%)
  • United Kingdom (11%)
  • France (7%)
  • Australia (6%)
  • Germany (5%)
  • Russian Federation (4%)
  • Japan (4%)
  • Canada (3%)

It is likely to change in the next years with the growing attractiveness of Canada and Germany as a destination and cheaper option than the US or UK; and difficulties to gain short work experience after studying in the UK and southern European countries.

The British Council created an infographic out of data on international student numbers and nationality, coupled with an explanation over drops and increases in some nationalities’ numbers.

British Council International Students Widget

What’s moving those students?

The British Council infographic data highlights roughly three factors influencing the migration flows of students: financial context, the educational offer and immigration rules of the receiving country.

Fluctuation in currency values, access to scholarships or student loan opportunities and a country’s education sector financing are main financial elements that drastically impact international students flows.

It is all about the money

Just think of the drop in Indian students (-47%) since 2011 going to UK Universities. Since 2011, the Indian Rupee has decrease of value of 50% ( £1GBP buying 70 INR in 2011, now in 2014 approximately 100INR) causing many indian international students to drop their dreams of financing their studies, and looking at student loans as a solution.

Similarly, Germany has dropped its students fees for all and also international students. Since then, it has seen a surge in applications from overseas students coming from low income countries like Bangladesh (29.3%), Iran, Egypt and Pakistan.

Show me your visa

Immigration rules also have a play. It is often argued that the drop in Indian and Pakistani student numbers in the UK are not just the fact of fees, and are reinforced by stricter immigration rules; mainly tougher student visa requirements and the closure of the post-study work visa.

Migreat blog covered the topic extensively this year, and UK Higher Education Institution Representatives have repeatedly voiced their concerns.

Indeed, the possibility to work in the foreign country while studying is essential for many international students that heavily rely on private loans to pay tuitions fees.

Also, international students are taking a risk investing in education abroad. The chances of finding a work after graduating to pay back the loan and gaining meaningful work experience that can be recognised back home, is an important element influencing the decision to study abroad.

Competitive Marketing

Although not very obvious in the infographic, it can’t be ignored that universities are heavily marketing themselves abroad. Bright students are not the privilege of just some countries. Governments are embracing this idea by growing their pool of talents with international students in the aim of boosting economic competitive advantage.

Canada, Australia and Germany are perfect examples of countries where the government is actively working hard to market the education sector in order to attract more talents to come and stay. Germany expects it to reverse the damaging effect an ageing population would have on its economy. Canada is investing in international students to keep its economy attractive and innovative. Australia continues to attract international students as a mean to keep growing its influence within a globalised economy.

Love, what else?

However and finally, one aspect of studying abroad is rarely reflected in numbers but has acted as a major driver too: dating opportunities. According to a study published by the European Commission, the Erasmus program, the popular EU youth mobility scheme that enabled million of European students study in a different EU country gave birth to one million babies. The study suggests that more than a quarter of those who take part in its long-running Erasmus scheme meet their long-term partner while studying abroad – and that more than one million babies may have been produced as a result.


At Migreat, we are supporting anyone studying abroad and will help you migrate where you heart belongs. Get guidance over courses abroad, universities and visas via migreat.com

Britain should open its doors to International Students

International students bring a great deal to the UK and there is no doubt that they are of great significance to both, the UK education sector and economy as a whole.

Contribute to the economy

Not only do they contribute to the intellectual diversity to Britain’s universities, they also contribute billions to the UK economy in expenditure. In fact, expenditure by international students (non-EU) on fees and accommodation alone amounted to £3.8 billion in 2011–12, supporting 137,000 full time-equivalent jobs in the UK. Further, the research shows that 60% of people recognise that students bring money into their local economies. 


International students also help boost innovation & creativity by bringing skills and talent to the UK. They help sustain the UK’s research base particularly in areas where the UK currently has a shortage of skills such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In fact, international students account for over 40% of UK postgraduate students and 50% of those doing full-time research degrees.

International students want some work experience before going back

The prospect of post-study work is an important driver for many international students in deciding where to study and our international competitors such as US, Australia and Canada are competing to secure a greater share of this rapidly increasing student market by implementing bold strategies like offering boosted post-study work opportunities. A report published by Universities UK highlights that such strategies are making visible differences in the latest figures showing a 10% increase in International students in the United States; 8% in Australia, and 4% in Canada – a great contrast with UK’s figures below.

Flow of international students to the UK over the last year. 2011 was the year when the PSW was introduced
Flow of international students to the UK over the last year. 2011 was the year when the PSW was introduced

A constraining UK immigration policy for International Students

Despite the benefits that international students bring to the economy, the UK’s immigration policy is constraining international graduates post-study work opportunities and including them within net migration numbers. These increasingly rigorous and ever changing immigration policies are affecting the sentiments of prospective international students; with many of them believing that they are unwelcome here.

Drop in International Students coming from Asia except for China
Drop in International Students coming from Asia except for China

Together, this has led to the UK experiencing stagnation in an industry where it traditionally shined. The most recent immigration data shows that study related visas (excluding student visitors) rose by 3% in the year ending September 2014 when compared with previous 12 months; however, there were falls in the numbers of Indian (-6%), Nigerian (-7%) and Pakistani (-10%) nationals. Also, non-EU long-term immigration for study, excluding dependants, fell by 8% in the year ending June 2014 when compared with the previous 12 months.

Recent data and reports by The Entrepreneurs Network and NUS

Launch of Entrepreneurs Network & NUS Report on International Students in company of Lord BIlimoria
Launch of Entrepreneurs Network & NUS Report on International Students in company of Lord BIlimoria

At a recent roundtable discussion put on by the think tank, The Entrepreneurs Network, the principal guest, Lord Bilimoria and members supporting the growth of International Students in the UK discussed how the UK could catch up with its international competitors. The key recommendations from this meeting include:

  • A report by NUS and The Entrepreneurs Network based on a survey on 1599 international students was launched at the event. It urges the UK government re-instate a post-study work visa, de-coupled from the sponsor system, to allow international students to explore post study work opportunities.
  • As per the latest net migration numbers, students represent the largest portion of non-EU immigration and a recent ICM poll shows only a meagre 22% of the British public think that international students should count as migrants while the majority 75% thinks that international students should be allowed to stay and work in Britain after graduating from British universities. While many people may have negative feelings towards immigration, most concern appears to be focused on the numbers of unskilled workers. Thus, international students must be removed from the net migration figures to provide a more clear and accurate picture of the immigration numbers. Doing so will also help ensure that the valuable contribution that genuine international students make to Britain is no longer caught up in the immigration debate.
  • The government should launch an international student growth strategy to promote British universities overseas, build new international partnerships and ultimately attract more international students.
  • Finally, the UK government should also promote and increase visibility for available post study work options such as Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange scheme amongst more permanent routes like Tier 1 & 2.


Policy makers must strike a right balance in the approach they take to immigration and leave behind the ‘one size fits all’ approach, focused on reducing overall numbers. It is vital that UK does not lose its position as a preferred higher education destination and remains as “One of the best places to live and work”, OECD. The UK is on the back foot and needs to catch up with its competitors, providing a more open and welcoming environment for the worlds best and brightest to study and work in the UK while benefitting from the economic and cultural contributions that international students make.

zenia-chopraThis guest blog post is provided to you by Zenia Chopra, Head of Sales & Marketing at Access Tier 5, overarching body of the Tier 5 GAE route and partner of Migreat.com.

Data source: Universities UK

UK Internship Visa: the Alternative UK Work Visa for International Graduates

It’s not all doom and gloom for international graduates. The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange visa route is now open to international students graduating in the UK, and has the potential to offer a great deal to international graduates – something that tends to get lost in the legitimate campaigns to turn back the clock and enable the return of a Post study work visa.

In this blog post, Migreat asked our partner from Access Tier 5 to tell us more about the Tier 5 internship scheme and how you can take advantage of it if you want to do an internship in the UK, or stay work in the UK after graduation.

International students in a park with a laptop

Open to any company and without the need to apply for a UK Sponsorship Licence!

The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme offers a smart alternative for trainee professionals coming to the UK through approved programmes that aim to share knowledge, best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life in the UK. Any company with a need for international talent can tap into that scheme.

In contrast to Tier 2, which requires the employer to directly sponsor migrant workers, Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange category does not permit employers to sponsor migrants; instead, the sponsor has to be an overarching body (the main overarching bodies can be found here). The overarching bodies is the authority qualifying the company to the scheme.

Young male student read book in classroom


To be eligible the applicant must:

  • intend to come to the UK for a short time (a year maximum) for a work experience or training;
  • have an employer  approved by an authorised overarching body (find out more about overarching bodies here).
  • show evidence of funds of £945 in savings for 90 days prior to visa application or have maintenance letter from an A rate sponsor.

An exciting opportunity open to UK International Graduates

Since October 2013, rules were changed to enable Tier 4 (General) graduates to switch to Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange category. This change was made to make it easier for businesses to recruit graduates with specialist skills with a view to possibly offer them permanent positions in the future; without the need to apply for a sponsorship licence at first.

To be eligible, applicants from within the UK must have completed their degrees in the UK and intend to undertake corporate internships that directly relate to their degrees, lasting no longer than 12 months.


Every cloud has a silver lining and for international graduates this comes in the form of Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange route. For those of us who believe in the freer movement of international graduates the current system is certainly not ideal but I have seen firsthand the opportunities Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange route can provide. Although it’s not as easy as it once was, it definitely is not all doom and gloom for those wishing to work and live in the UK.

zenia-chopraThis guest blog post is provided to you by Zenia Chopra, Head of Sales & Marketing at Access Tier 5, overarching body of the Tier 5 GAE route and partner of Migreat.com.