The UK has announced a new points-based visa route for international students that will replace the previous tier 4 visa route. Initially expected to be operational from January 2020, the new student route will now open on October 5, 2020.
The new route has been introduced to simplify the student visa application process for students applying to universities in Britain. As highlighted by the British High Commission (BHC), students will now require a total of 70 points to get a visa.
The required points will be awarded to students if they speak English, are accepted in an approved higher education institution and have the ability to support themselves during their education in the UK.
The UK Home Office said that the route is aimed at treating all students equally, including European students coming to study in the UK after the end of the Brexit transition period.
Director of British Council India Barbara Wickham said that the new route offers ease of immigration and flexibility which would further attract more Indian students wishing to study in the UK and gain international exposure.
She further added that the benefits of post-study work offered by the Graduate Immigration Route and this new Student Route would work towards its commitment to international students and providing them with a world-class education.
As mentioned in the International Education Strategy 2020, this move would help in increasing the number of international students coming to the UK for higher studies every year to 6,00,000 by 2030.
Many overseas students are deferring their admission to UK universities until next years’ Spring semester due to the Covid-19 crisis. Hence, the government tabled the new Student Route for visas in Parliament on September 10, 2020, so that prospective students can benefit from the new process.
Along with the Student Route, the Child Student Route for younger overseas students will also open from October 5, 2020.
Russell Group’s Chief Executive Tim Bradshaw said that they will continue to work with the UK government to ensure a flexible visa system that is shaped by developing issues such as the global pandemic.