In contrast to the hostile environment that was created by the previous Home Secretary, Theresa May, towards immigration, it appears that Sajid Javid is attempting to reverse this image by proposing a more 'flexible, sensible attitude to immigration'. The Mayor of London is calling for the UK to loosen the current strict immigration rules that exist for overseas students, allowing them a limited period of six months to work following the completion of their studies.
It has been 7 years since the termination of the Tier 1 - Post Study Work (PSW) visa. The PSW visa category allowed overseas students to remain and work in the UK for two years after completing their studies. This reduced any barriers to entry for international students and ensured that the UK retained top talent straight out of universities. The PSW allowed graduates to seek employment without having to gain a sponsor for 2 years, providing them with a more straightforward and less time consuming route into work.
However, since the closure of the PSW visa, the process for international graduates has become more complex. Students face the threat of having to return home if they are not able to switch from a student visa to a Tier 2 working visa, which has stricter requirements for qualification. The process for international students has become far more onerous and a race against the clock as the time period for approved applications has been reduced. It's therefore not a surprise that there has been a sluggish increase in the number of international students staying in, and coming to, the UK. With this change running in parallel with the TOEIC cheating scandal which arose in 2014 where the Home Office accused many innocent students of cheating in their English test, it is no surprise that politicians are now calling for a change to the system.
Although Javid's comments may be a ploy to win support to become PM, the revival of a Tier 1 PSW visa (or an equivalent) could signify a shift away from the hostile environment towards immigration that has been created by his predecessor. Under this current Secretary of State there may be some hope that a better, more straightforward and welcoming immigration system will emerge after Brexit.