UK govt announces new visa route for international students

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New Delhi (NVI): The UK government has announced a new visa route for international students that is to start from October 5, delivering on its promise to introduce a new points-based immigration system.

The new “Student Route” visa system is based on points — a total of 70 — which an applicant is required to secure to gain a visa, a statement from the British High Commision said.

The new process is more streamlined for students and their sponsoring institutions, it said.

Students 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 previously) and they will not be required to resubmit proof of academic qualifications with their visa application, the statement added.

The new route treats students equally, with all international students using the same, simplified route when it opens for applications no matter where they come from, it said.

Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India, said, “India is one of the UK’s largest source 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,” she said.

Barbara Wickham, Director, British Council India, said the new system offered “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,” she added.

As a result of the coronavirus, some overseas students are choosing to defer their entry onto courses in the UK until the Spring semester of early next year.

Therefore, the government chose to introduce the new route now so that students would be able to benefit from the new streamlined process whilst still giving sponsors time to adapt after their Autumn intake this month.

It also reiterated that there would be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK under the route.

Besides the Student Route, the Child Student Route for younger international students will also open from October 5.