The Department for Education has announced on Saturday that they will be giving Visa extensions to international students, to allow them to search for jobs. The government aims to increase the number of international students in the UK following Brexit.

Masters and Undergraduate students will be given 6 months following graduation to search for jobs, whereas Doctoral graduates will be given 12 months. Currently, international students are given 4 months following the end of their course.

The announcement also hinted at further policy change as the department is considering “how the visa process could be improved for applicants and supporting student employment.”

The announcement also highlighted the governments approach for education – to increase the number of international students in the UK to 600,000 per year and to increase the value of educational exports to £35 billion per year, by 2030.  This would mean an 140,000 increase of international students.

This is quite an ambitious target, considering that EU students lose visa free access and access to student loans following Brexit. EU students will also be subject to higher tuition fees, as they lose their ‘home student’ status following Brexit. Currently of the 460,000 international students in the UK, around 140,000 are from the EU.

Damian Hinds, the education secretary said “As we prepare to leave the EU it is more important than ever to reach out to our global partners and maximise the best potential of our best assets. That includes our education offer and the international students this attracts.”

Janet Beer, the vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool and the Chair of Universities UK, recently revealed that Brexit will cost UK Universities around £1.2 billion of funding over the next two years.

She also said that there are “serious implications for universities of crashing out of the EU without a deal on the 29 of March. These span procurement, date protection, the mutual recognition of qualifications and intellectual property. The contribution that universities make to local economies through employment, services and support for regional supply chains, will also be put in jeopardy.”