STEM graduates should get post-study visas, writes President Gast in the FT

International students of science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) should have the right to remain in the UK after graduation.

In a letter published in today’s Financial Times , Professor Gast noted that nearly three-quarters of the British public support giving international students the right to work in the UK after graduation.

She wrote: “This week’s Migration Advisory Committee report recommends modest extensions of post-study work options for international students. A powerful starting-point would be STEM graduates, who would contribute to innovation and growth if they remained in the UK.”

“At Imperial College London foreign students are overrepresented on inventions, patents and in startups relative to their population in the university. They are natural risk takers having moved far away from home for their studies. Their startups create more jobs than they consume.”

Recent Imperial graduates who have remained in the UK include Pae Natwilai , a design engineer from Thailand. She founded Trik after developing intuitive tools and software for controlling drones. Pae’s company, which is creating new jobs in the UK, has the potential to transform structural inspection in the energy and construction industries.

Professor Gast noted that “Three year post-study work visas for STEM PhD students, and new post-study work options for STEM graduates would help align UK policy with the US, Canada and Australia. The UK government would be wise to catch up with its peers, the economic evidence and public opinion.”

The full letter can be read on page 10 of today’s Financial Times and online. Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or Imperial College London.