UK Eases Pilot Student Visa Scheme To 23 Universities

The scheme was introduced in colleges like Oxford, Bath, Cambridge and Imperial College London last year.


The United Kingdom announced the extension of a pilot student visa scheme to 23 more universities on Dec.18. The new scheme will benefit many Indian and other non-European Union students, reported PTI.

Under the scheme that was introduced last year on a pilot basis in four British universities, students are granted a period of six months to find a job after finishing their course. The scheme is already running  in colleges like Oxford, Bath, Cambridge and Imperial College London since last year.

The UK Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said in his announcement: “I am delighted to announce the expansion of this pilot which is part of our ongoing activity to ensure that our world-leading institutions remain highly competitive”.

In it’s second year, the scheme is looking to streamline the process for international students who wish to pursue a Masters degree for 13 months or less. It aims to provide greater support for students who wish to switch to a work visa. International students are to apply for Tier 4 visa.

The additional 23 universities include two in Scotland, two in Wales, one in Northern Ireland and others from across UK.

The universities who will be a part of the scheme are responsible for eligibility checks, this means that students have to submit fewer documents than required in the current process along with their visa applications. Applicants who don’t meet immigration requirements will not be eligible for the scheme.

Lewis added that United Kingdom continues to be the second most popular destination for international students. He said that since 2010, the number of students coming to study in United Kingdom have increased by 24 per cent. “This is a clear indication that genuine students are welcome and there is no limit on the number who can come to study in the UK,” Lewis said.

Indian students make for approximately 9,600 visas granted in 2016 (or 7 per cent). According to the Office of National Statistics Data, over 7,400 Indian students left United Kingdom before the expiry of their student visas, with only 2,209 choosing to extend their visas between April 2016 and April 2017.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield and founder of the UK-wide #WeAreInternational campaign welcomed the move. He said that International students are crucial not only to UK scholarship and teaching, but they play a huge role in the life and economy of towns and cities right across the UK.

“I also hope that the experience of extending the pilot will give the UK the assurance it needs to further extend the pilot into mainstream policy for the good of the many talented students from around the world who wish to study in the UK,” Burnett added

The recently included 23 universities will be able to apply the scheme to their 2018-19 intake.

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