The international student employability group (ISEG) was set up in 2020 in response to the research findings from the report Supporting International Graduate Employability Making Good on the Promise which recommended ‘establishing a cross-department working group or similar with responsibility for international student/graduate employability to support the delivery of the strategic approach’.
The members of the group now include:
- UKCISA (Chair)
- AGCAS Internationalisation Task Group
- Association of Colleges
- British Council
- British Universities Liaison Association (BUILA)
- Institute of Student Employers
- Independent HE
- Universities Scotland
- Confederation of British Industries (CBI)
- Jisc / Prospects
- UKCISA student ambassadors
There have been four meetings to date with a fifth scheduled for 27 April.
Broadly, the role of ISEG is to:
- undertake research to understand international students’ employability needs
- engage with UK governments to influence policy
- engage with other sector bodies to improve the evidence base on graduate employability
- work with employers to highlight the benefits of recruiting international students and graduates
- support education institutions to provide employability support for international students
Three subgroups have formed to focus on areas of interest:
- The Graduate Route
- Employer Engagement
- Improving data
UKCISA’s convened the group and is now Chair and we have taken a leading role in working on the implementation of the Graduate Route.
UKCISA and ISEG activity
UKCISA convened a roundtable event with sector bodies. This was followed up with the submission of a position paper to inform the implementation of the Graduate route to the Home office. This was not made public but the paper was endorsed by AoC, GuildHE, MillionPlus, IndependentHE, UUki, BUILA and UniversityAlliance. The paper outlined sector recommendations on eligibility (type of qualification, mode of study, education provider, flexibility during Covid) and reporting requirements and made several recommendations which were accepted by the Home office. Key successes were:
Allowing eligibility for students on articulation agreements for degree programmes who complete their degree in the UK to be eligible
UKCISA convened a roundtable event with members of ISEG subgroup on the Graduate Route to discuss self-employment. The group submitted recommendations to the Home Office outlining the business case for unrestricted self-employment. As a result, self-employment will be permitted within the Graduate Route rules when it is introduced in July 2021.
UKCISA convened two technical meetings with the sector and UKVI to discuss reporting eligibility requirements and to agree practical solutions for the implementation of the route in July.
UKCISA worked with BUILA and Universities UK to lobby the Home Office to amend the 6 April arrival date for students who had been studying remotely due to Covid. This date was subsequently revised and students have been granted more time to enter the UK in order to qualify for the route.