// Should Chinese students stay in the UK or back to China?
by Career Interactive, 24th December 2020
On 11 September 2019, the UK Government confirmed that PSW Visa will be carried out in June 2021. Post-Study Work (PSW) visa allows international students who achieve a qualification at undergraduate level or above to remain in the UK for up to two years to seek or do work.
The policy will be open to all international students who entered the UK in the academic year 2020/21 onwards, but if you want to stay in the UK for more than two years, you still need to get a Tier 2 Visa. However, the requirements for Tier 2 Visa are more complex, for example it requires a higher salary for applicants and depending on the position, the requirements also vary. The most common companies that provide sponsorships are Big4, Investment Banks, Technology and Engineering firms.
Q：Does “having a PSW” means you are going to have 2 years to look for a Tier 2 position after graduation?
Q：Does that mean that it will be less competitive to find a Tier 2 position?
- Firstly, Top companies in the industry will not ease their recruitment requirements.
- Then, the re-introduction of PSW has encouraged many international students to pursue a degree in the UK but at the same time, the number of vacancies remain nearly the same. Thus, the competitiveness of Tier2 positions has increased invisibly.
- Finally, due to the pandemic, the unemployment rate in the UK has reached 4.9%. From August to October, the UK companies laid off a record 370,000 people.
On 19 December, there were 36,000 newly diagnosed cases in the UK, of which 11,000 were in London, accounting for 1/3. In recent days, reports stated that a new mutated, faster-spreading disease strain (70% higher than the original strain) has been discovered in the UK. Thus, on Saturday (19 December 2020), the Prime Minister stated that from 20 December, a more stringent Tier 4 lockdown will be implemented in the London area and most of South and East England.
Under current circumstances, the psychological pressure brought to the remaining students, especially the graduates cannot be underestimated. In case the epidemic in the UK has not been effectively controlled, will you return to China for career development or stay in the UK?
Return to China vs Stay in the UK
Returning to China:
According to the latest statistics, the cumulative number of job seekers returning from overseas in 2020 will exceed 800,000, which is a 58% increase from last year (519,400 people). At the same time, in 2020, the number of domestic graduates will reach 8.74 million, and the pandemic has greatly increased the competitiveness in the Chinese job market.
A report released by Think Tanks shows that returning to China for employment is the mainstream, accounting for 61%. Faced with the increased competition in the domestic job market and the improvement of the reputation of domestic universities, the advantages of overseas returnees are gradually declining.
In addition, the lack of understanding of the "domestic employment situation and corporate needs", the "weak domestic connections", and the "misalignment of the time of returning and the time of domestic recruitment" have increased the returnees' employment pressure.
In a fiercely competitive environment, reports stated that after the epidemic, wages have also declined compared to before. In 2019, the average return of overseas returnees was only RMB 10,996 (equivalent to around £1,260).
Staying in the UK:
Researches have found that although the pandemic has affected students’ studying experience, some countries still see a resurgence in international students’ applications, such as the UK. Officials stated that the number of Chinese students who applied for undergraduate degrees in the UK increased by 23% compared to last year.
Then, with the re-introduction of the PSW visa, the chances for international students to stay in the UK have increased, thus the UK job market has become increasingly pressured.
That being said, compared with the domestic job market, the UK job market still is relatively less competitive while the salary level is higher than that of the domestic job market.
With regard to the impact of COVID on the UK’s economy, many companies still announced that this will not affect the number of interns and graduates they expect to recruit. The HSBC spokesperson said: The review process during this period will be slower, but the number will not decrease.
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