Working in the UK


Recently I was at dinner speaking to an overseas student doing her PhD at Cambridge University. For someone who has only been in the UK a number of weeks, she told the most unbelievable story about English emigration authorities.

I was told that even though she had already done her undergraduate and masters degree in the UK, she had to complete the full application for a visa in order to do her PhD. If this wasn’t bad enough, she also had to pay a £20 phone bill to get an appointment – "you are now number 25 in line, please hold" – to have a new biometric card made, plus an additional £350 fee to get her new visa.

But the struggle is not over for her yet. The UK is very reluctant to let overseas people, who want to contribute to the country’s economy, in to the country in the first place. This means that you can’t apply to live here unless you have been studying here for 10 years, or been working at least 5 years in the UK. This policy means that all overseas students, after doing their degree, are kindly told to leave the country, unless they are able to get a job directly after finishing university.

The good question is now to consider where the overseas students go. Not surprisingly they tend to go to the US along with many of their British colleagues. So what is really happening here is? Students going to university in the UK, who speak perfect English and whose qualifications are requested to go to the US. The most repelling thing about this case is that the UK is estimated to need about 12 million highly educated emigrants during the next 40 years in order to be able to pay for the social benefits provided to an aging population.

The alternative of this would be an increase in taxes of about 10 percent, which would certainly devastate the British economy. You may have a Labour government, but they know nothing about the labour market, which is unfortunately the case of many European governments.