UK Simplifies and Streamline Points-based Student Visa Route

The UK government has introduced a new points-based Student Route for visas, which improves on and simplifies the previous Tier 4 route for student visa application requirements for international students. The new Student Route offers greater flexibility and ease of immigration for applicants and will be welcomed by Indian students who opt for a UK education every year to gain international exposure.

The route, in place for all overseas students since October 5, requires students to have a total of 70 points in order to be granted a visa to study at a UK university. To get these points, they only need to clearly demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, have acceptable standards of English, and are able to support themselves during the period of studies in the UK.

All students will be treated equally, including students from other European countries who are coming to study after the Brexit transition period ends at the end of 2020. There will also be no cap on the number of international students who can come to the UK under the new pathway.

The post-study work benefits of the Graduate Immigration Route and the launch of the Student Route, make higher studies in the UK more attractive for international students looking to pursue a world-class education. It is expected that this change will have a further positive impact on the number of Indian students choosing the UK as a higher education destination.

Due to the pandemic, there are many overseas students who are choosing to postpone their entry onto courses in the UK until Spring 2021. Keeping this in mind, the government has chosen to introduce the new route now so that these students can benefit from the new, easier application process. The Government is taking all steps to ensure that education in UK continues to stay competitive in the rapidly changing global education market.

As set out in the International Education Strategy published in March last year, the Government aims to increase the total number of international students choosing to study in the UK higher education system each year to 600,000 in the coming decade.

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group of leading universities explained this new pathway, saying that UK is a global leader in higher education, research and innovation. “As we look to the UK’s future place in the world, we want to protect our hard-won status and the opportunities it provides to help with the economic recovery of towns and cities across Britain – as well as finding solutions to the wider challenges that face our society,” Dr Bradshaw said.

He further added that these changes to the immigration rules are very welcome as they are coming at a time when the visa system needs to be responsive to developing issues, such as those resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. These changes, he feels, will help to ensure the UK remains an internationally attractive destination for the best and brightest young people to study.

In addition to the Student Route, the Child Student Route for younger international students has also commenced from October 5.

The Boris Johnson led government is setting in place these changes as part of the new post-Brexit points-based immigration, necessitated by Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) and the end of the EU’s free movement of people at the end of December.

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