To match an exact phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate". Use "OR" or "AND" as link words to form more complex queries.


Keep yourself up-to-date with the latest developments by exploring our subscription options to receive notifications direct to your inbox

Written Question
Research: EU Countries
Monday 28th November 2022

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the UK’s participation in (a) Horizon Europe and (b) other European research projects.

Answered by Robert Halfon - Minister of State (Education)

The department has regular discussions with colleagues on a range of topics, and fully support colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on their work in this area. Our preference remains association to Horizon Europe, with international collaboration in science, research and development being a key priority.


Written Question
Overseas Students: Entry Clearances
Tuesday 15th September 2020

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of extending the duration of the graduate work visa.

Answered by Michelle Donelan - Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology

Extensive engagement has taken place across the government, both at a ministerial level and official level, throughout the development of the future immigration system, including on the new graduate and student routes and other points-based routes.

The graduate route, launching in summer 2021, represents our continued commitment to support the UK’s education sector and our strong desire to make a truly world-leading offer to international students, allowing new graduates the opportunity to remain in the UK to work or to look for work after their studies. This is already a substantial improvement on the UK’s previous post-study work offer of 4 months (6 months under the limited pilot programme). Since we had originally announced the details of the graduate route last September, the government announced a further change, extending the post-study work period to 3 years for PhD graduates.

We believe that 2 years (3 years for PhD graduates) is a fair and generous amount of time to allow international graduates to have unrestricted access to the UK labour market, enabling them to gain valuable work experience and to kick-start their careers. We also believe this will help to ensure that the UK continues to be an attractive destination for international students. We will of course keep the operation of the graduate route under review once it has been implemented.

At the end of their leave as a graduate, international students who wish to stay and work in the UK for longer will also be eligible to switch into employment immigration routes. We are reviewing and simplifying the employment routes as part of the government’s work on the future borders and immigration system to ensure that they meet the UK’s needs.

The government also recently published and updated bespoke guidance for students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, setting out important flexibilities at this time. This includes confirming that those studying by distance/blended learning will be eligible to apply for the graduate route provided they are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and meet other requirements of the route.

We now have a world-class student visa offer befitting our world-class higher education sector, which will only improve once the student route is operational later this year and student visa processes are further streamlined.


Written Question
Overseas Students: EU Nationals
Monday 7th September 2020

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Education:

What recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on visas and immigration rules for international students studying in the UK after the transition period.

Answered by Michelle Donelan - Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology

My department engages across Government and with the Devolved Administrations on a regular basis, including through a programme of meetings which was introduced to discuss the future immigration system after the publication of the Immigration White Paper in December 2018.

EU students in the UK on, or prior to, 31 December 2020 are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme – the deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

From October 2020, all students (EU and non-EU) will be able to apply for a visa via the Student and Child Student routes, which will build on the current Tier 4 visa system. When the Student route opens there will be a number of improvements which will further streamline the immigration process. This will include extending the visa application window for prospective students to six months and allowing international students to apply for further leave as a Student or switch into other routes from inside the UK (in-country switching). Changes to the new Student route have been developed via extensive engagement with the sector and have been based upon the Law Commission’s report on the simplification of the Immigration Rules.

In addition, Government announced that PhD graduates will benefit from three years of leave in the UK under the new Graduate route when it is introduced in Summer 2021. International students graduating with undergraduate or master’s degrees will be able to stay in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years after graduation. This will continue to improve the UK’s globally competitive offer to international students.

Government has published, and updated, bespoke guidance for students setting out important flexibilities at this time. These have included enabling international students to complete distance/blended learning for the upcoming academic year, provided students’ sponsors intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow, and confirming that those studying by distance/blended learning will be eligible to apply for the Graduate route provided they are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and meet other requirements of the route.