The UK’s post-study work visa: Abolition and Reinstatement of a Degree Mobility Incentive

Alshimaa Ahmed, Dan Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the 2012 abolition of the Post-Study Work visa for international students in English and Welsh Universities and its subsequent re-establishment in 2021. A policy cycle analysis was performed of the phases of agenda setting, formulation, implementation, and evaluation. This revealed that the UK government abolished the PSW visa in 2012 because of national security concerns and perceived public opposition to immigration, but minimised the role of higher education institutions and failed to consider economic and cultural drivers when setting the policy agenda. The impact of the subsequent top-down approach to implementation led to a range of negative outcomes for HEIs and their contribution to the UK economy. Subsequently, bottom-up pressure led to the UK government re-establishing the PSW visa for economic reasons, political reasons (Brexit), and in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Early online date3 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Apr 2024


  • The UK’s post-study work visa
  • The UK’s post-study work visa: abolition and reinstatement of a degree mobility incentive
  • UK visa and Covid 19
  • policy in higher education
  • post study work visa in the UK
  • the graduate route UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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