Sandhya Bhambani

The graduate route visa delivers benefits

By Sandhya Bhambhani, RGU student - 18 June 2024

As an international student in the UK, having a graduate route visa is highly beneficial. It allows me and others like me to build a career in the UK. We can seek employment related to our field of study, which can be crucial for long-term career growth.

Unlike other work visas, the graduate route doesn’t require sponsorship from an employer. This means I have the freedom to choose a job without becoming tied to a specific company.

Staying in the UK after graduation allows students to network with professionals, attend industry events, and establish valuable connections. These connections can enhance career prospects.

After completion of the graduate route, students can always take their knowledge and experience back to their home nation and help to make big changes there. But attracting the best international students to learn and then stay in the north-east of Scotland has a positive impact on everybody in the area.

It brings economic and social benefits, as well as ensuring that important public services like the NHS have a big enough workforce to deal with an ageing population over the coming years. The number of people aged 60 or over in Scotland is expected to reach 1.6 million by 2034. 

Health subjects were responsible for 25% of international enrolments at my university, RGU, during the 2023-24 academic year. This is above the Scottish benchmark of 10%, and compares to just 9% 10 years ago, in 2013-14.

RGU’s graduate outcomes survey found that 25% of the non-UK respondents are employed in the health and social work sector. A total of 73% of those graduates had secured a permanent or open-ended contract, with a further breakdown of the data showing that 54% were therapy professionals, 22% were nursing professionals, and 11% were other health professionals.  

Ahead of the announcement of the General Election, the UK Government confirmed it was keeping the graduate route visa.  This decision came following the conclusion of the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendation to keep the graduate route visa in its current form.

This means Universities like RGU, cities like Aberdeen, and the NHS can continue to benefit from those travelling thousands of miles to learn how to be high quality nurses, physiotherapists, midwives and occupational therapists. 

As I prepare to graduate, I carry with me not just a degree but a treasure trove of memories. RGU has shaped me into a confident, curious, and compassionate individual.

This was printed in the Press & Journal on Friday 14 June.

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