UK's new points-based student visa requirements: What you should know
UK border signage is pictured at the passport control in Arrivals in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London on July 16, 2019 (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

Planning to study abroad in the UK? You might be wondering if you meet the UK student visa requirements. The British government recently announced a brand new, points-based visa route for international students in Parliament. Well, what exactly is it, and how do you qualify for it? Read on — 

The new points-based immigration system aims to improve on the previous Tier 4 route for international students who are applying to study in Britain “by making it more streamlined for sponsoring institutions and their students”, said the UK government in a release.

The new route applies to all international students from Oct. 5, 2020 onward.

International students must achieve the required 70 points to be granted a student visa to study at a UK university. 

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.

In a statement by the British High Commission (BHC) in New Delhi, under the new system, students will be able to make a visa application up to six months before their course starts — this is up from just a three-month window previously under Tier 4 — and they will not be required to resubmit proof of academic qualifications with their visa application.

More flexible UK student visa measures?

The UK government has said that they recognise some foreign students are opting to defer their entry into courses in the UK, waiting until the spring semester of 2021 due to COVID-19, and say the new visa route will benefit them.

“Introducing these new routes now means that students will be able to benefit from the new streamlined process whilst still giving sponsors time to adapt after their autumn intake,” they explained.

The new route treats all students equally, including students from Europe coming to study after the Brexit transition period ends at the end of the year.

The government continued that they want to ensure that they “retain the brightest and the best students to continue to contribute to the UK post-study”, which is why they are launching the Graduate route in the summer of 2021. 

“This additional new route will allow those who have completed a degree at a UK Higher Education provider with a track record of compliance to stay in the UK for two years (three years for PhD graduates) and work at any skill level, and to switch into work routes if they find a suitable job,” they explained.

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 as it offers greater flexibility and ease of immigration for applicants.

“With the post-study work benefits of the Graduate Immigration 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 said.

Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said, “Now we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country’s full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and attract talent to drive our economy forward.

“Launching the Student route early sends a clear message to the world we want the best and brightest to come to the UK to study at our globally renowned education institutions.”

There will be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK to help increase the total number of international students choosing to study in the UK higher education system each year to 600,000 by 2030, as set out in the International Education Strategy published in March 2019.

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