The UK Is Considering Extending Work Hours For Foreign Students.
UK government is proposing increasing work hours for foreign students including Nigerians to fill job openings and stimulate the economy. According to the news report, government officials seek methods to motivate UK and foreign students to undertake more part-time jobs to address labor shortages in the hospitality and retail sectors.
At the moment, there are over 600,000 international students in the UK who can only work for a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time. However, the government has started discussing options of either raising the limit of paid work hours for foreign students to 30 hours/week from the current 20 hours or lifting the limit completely.
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According to a news report from The Times, UK ministers are looking at steps that can be taken to eliminate obstacles and promote student employment, and one such step is lifting the cap on foreign students’ work hours. However, the plan is yet to be agreed upon by the government.
In 2022, the British Home Office announced that 65,929 study visas were given to Nigerian nationals making Nigeria the third largest nationality in UK universities behind India and China. For many Nigerians, moving to the UK while academic is usually economically motivated. And this is evidenced by the rising number of Nigerian students’ dependents which is the highest of any nationality in the UK.
For many foreign students in the UK, the move by the British government is a welcome development, as they would be able to make more money. The move will also benefit the UK economy by alleviating labor shortages and increasing government tax revenue. According to Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, “businesses are crying out for workers”.
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However, there are concerns that increasing students’ work hours will distract students away from their studies but it is expected that students would adjust to finding a work-study balance.
The consideration comes even as the UK government has been drumming up calls to reduce migration into the country. However, the plans to reduce migration are targeted toward those crossing into the UK from the English Channel. For international students and their dependents, it is estimated that they contribute about £26 billion to the UK economy.