The UK government presented its new points-based student visa route in Parliament on Thursday, which simplifies the previous student visa application requirements for international students applying to study in the UK.
The route, which will apply to all overseas students including Indians from October 5th, means that students will need a total of 70 points to obtain a visa to study at a UK university.
They will achieve the required credit if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from a recognized educational establishment, speak English and can support themselves while studying in the UK.
The UK Home Office said the new route treats all students equally, including students from Europe who come to study after the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of the year.
“The new student route is a welcome announcement for the thousands of Indian students who choose to study UK education each year to gain international recognition. It offers applicants more flexibility and easier immigration,” said Barbara Wickham, Director of British Council India.
“With the benefits of the Post Graduate Immigration Route and the introduction of the Student Route, the UK has further cemented its commitment to international students and, more than ever, pursued their dreams of a world-class education,” she said.
The British Council stressed that the change would continue to have a positive impact on the number of Indian students choosing the UK as a university destination, which has increased in recent years.
“Now that we have left the EU we can unlock the full potential of this country and implement the changes we need to restore confidence in the immigration system and attract talent to fuel our economy,” said the UK Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster.
Due to the coronavirus, some overseas students are choosing to postpone their entry into courses in the UK until the spring semester early next year.
For this reason, the government has decided to roll out the new route now so that students can benefit from the new streamlined process and give sponsors time to adjust after their start this fall this month.
The route treats all students equally, with international students, including those from Europe coming to study after the transition period, using the same simplified route when it opens for applications, according to the Home Office.
The new student route improves on the previous Tier 4 route by optimizing it for sponsorship institutions and their students, creating clearer pathways for students and ensuring that the UK remains competitive in a changing global education market.
It was also affirmed that there would be no limit to the number of international students who could come to the UK on the route.
This aims to bring the total number of international students who choose to study in the UK higher education system each year to 600,000 by 2030, as set out in the International Education Strategy published last March.
“The UK is a world 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-earned status and the opportunities it offers to help cities and towns recover Cities across the UK – and finding solutions to the bigger challenges our society is facing, “said Dr. Tim Bradshaw, executive director of Russell Group of leading universities
“We welcome these changes to immigration rules, which will help the UK remain an internationally attractive place for the best and brightest students. We will continue to work with the government to ensure that our visa system remains flexible and responsive to evolving issues, like the ones emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, “he said.
In addition to the student route, the student route will also open to younger international students from October 5th.
The changes are part of the new post-Brexit point-based immigration led by Boris Johnson, which will come into effect in late December as a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) and the end of EU free movement rules.