UK govt announces new ‘points-based’ student visa route
London — The United Kingdom has introduced a new visa route for international students that will open on October 5. It will be a new points-based immigration system that will replace the previous tier 4 visa route, making the process more streamlined for students.
According to the British High Commission (BHC), under the new system, students will require a total of 70 points to be granted a visa, ANI writes .
“They will achieve the required points if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK. Students will also now be able to make a visa application up to 6 months before their course starts (up from 3 months under Tier 4), and they will not be required to resubmit proof of academic qualifications with their visa application,” the BHC release stated.
Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India, said: “India accounts for one of the UK’s largest group of international students and our world-leading education system has always been a key part of our bilateral relationship. Last financial year, nearly 50,000 Indian nationals were granted a study visa – they are the ambassadors of the Living Bridge that connects our countries.””Now that we have left the EU, we can introduce this streamlined visa route and the Graduate Route in summer 2021, to ensure the brightest and the best students continue to pick the UK,” Thompson added.
Barbara Wickham, Director, British Council India, said: “The new Student Route is a welcome announcement for thousands of Indian students who opt for a UK education every year to gain international exposure. It offers greater flexibility and ease of immigration for applicants. With the post-study work benefits of the Graduate Route and the launch of the Student Route, the UK has further solidified its commitment towards international students, and enabling more than ever, their dreams of pursuing a world-class education.”The UK recognises that, as a result of Covid-19, some overseas students are choosing to defer their entry onto courses in the UK until the Spring semester of 2021, BHC said.
“Introducing the new route now means that these students will be able to benefit from the new process whilst still giving sponsoring institutions time to adapt after their Autumn intake,” the further release stated.
Student visa routes will be opened up to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. You’ll be able to apply for a visa to study in the UK if you:
- have been offered a place on a course
- can speak, read, write and understand English
- have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course
A new graduate immigration route will be available to international students who have completed a degree in the UK from 5th of October Instead of summer 2021.
You’ll be able to work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for up to 2 years, or 3 years if you are a PhD graduate.
Graduate Route to come into effect included
All international students with valid Tier 4 (General) visa who successfully complete a degree in the UK can apply for the Graduate Route post-study work visa. Undergraduates finishing their course in 2021 onwards will be able to work for two years, while PhD holders can stay for three years. This includes every student who started their studies online in the 2020/21 academic year.
This visa opens up avenues for graduates to work and live in the UK. They can extend their stay later on with a skilled worker visa, return to the UK via the Intra Company Transfer (ICT) route after a period working overseas, or return via another non-sponsored route.
The UK government also announced that there would be no time limit on postgraduate courses provided the student is progressing academically. Plus, university sponsors can now self-assess an applicant’s academic and English language abilities themselves at the admissions stage.
You can apply student visa six months ahead
Under the latest UKVI guidelines, students can apply for a study visa as soon as they gain admission into the university and confirm their UK travel. This is a welcome change to international students at this time of travel uncertainty. Previously, students could only apply for this visa closer to their course commencement.
As part of the measure, UKVI will issue visa vignettes for 90 days instead of the usual 30 days for the rest of 2020. This way, students benefit from more time and flexibility in the longer travel window.