// How Will the UK Elections Affect International Students?
by Linjie, 28th April 2015
As an international student, you may not be able to vote in the UK Election in May 2015, but the consequences of this major event could have an impact on you and your future
There are a number of topics that are being discussed and immigration and Visas is one of the hot subjects up for debate.
So how will this new election affect you or friends and family wanting to study in the UK?
According to recent figures from the UKCISA, there are over 400,000 non-EU students studying in the UK at this current time and they contribute £17Bn a year to the British Economy
The largest group of international students come from China, second being India and then Nigeria.
There was the first decrease in foreign students studying at Universities this year for 29 years.
The Home Security Theresa May wants rules tightened up as she believes many people are staying on in the UK without the right documentation after their current Visa runs out of date.
At present, a student can stay up to four months after their studies are completed. If a student gets a graduate job in this time frame then they can apply for a work visa.
Most of the parties in the UK agree on tightening up restrictions and making it more difficult to gain entry to our education system
Here are some of the views from the main parties on immigration and Visas and the plans for the future.
UKIP wants to adopt an Australian style points system for skilled workers and increase the UK border staff to 2500. They value genuine students and are comfortable with students who what to study scientific subjects. UKIP also want to restrict work visas to 50,000 every year. Also for five years, there will be no free NHS treatment.
The Conservative Party wants to review the whole visa system to stop it being abused. EU migrants will not to be able to receive Job Seekers allowance and must work for four years here to be able to claim any benefits. Also, net migration is to be reduced to the tens of thousands.
The Labour party has indicated that they will reintroduce the Tier 1 post study work visa which was scrapped in 2012 and also introduce charges for visitors that do not need a visa. Also, there will be no benefits for the first two years of your stay. Labour also wants an extra 1,000 extra border staff employed and stop recruitment agencies from just employing overseas workers.
The Liberal Democrats want to reintroduce the post study work visa for students graduating in STEM subjects. They also want people with poor English skills to take courses and tests in order to receive and benefits.
CIUK has spoken to 35,000+ international students in 6 years and has witnessed employment conditions become increasingly more difficult for international students since the abolition of the Post Study Work Visa in April 2012.
So if you could vote, who would you vote for and why?