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Will Malaysians get to return to their UK universities soon?

malaysian students in uk universities
Malaysian students in UK universities are still not allowed to leave their home country until Aug. 31, 2020. Source: Goh Chai Hin/AFP

By this time of the year, thousands of Malaysian students would be packed ready to fly to the UK. Some will be there for the first time, others returning after a break. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the situation in 2020 is set to look quite different. At the time of writing, Malaysian students in UK universities are still not allowed to leave their home country until Aug. 31, 2020.

The recovery stage of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order will take place from June 10 until Aug. 31. There is no indication whethern the ban on international travel will be lifted at its end. The UK still allows visitors to enter provided they provide their journey and contact details and self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Writing in local daily The Star, the UK’s Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan assures Malaysian students in UK universities that the UK government “are doing everything we can to support you”.

“While it is difficult to know how long the current disruption will last, I want to be clear that the UK is open and will offer a world-class education wherever you study and in whatever form that degree takes,” she wrote.

What would that look like in 2020?

Donelan wrote that this may translate to “smaller socially distanced tutorials” or the move of first term lectures online.

She advised Malaysian students in UK universities to contact their institutions on how they plan to adapt to learning in 2020/21 if travel restrictions continue.

Flexibilities for international students

Student visa application centres are slowly reopening around the world, with a selection of international UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) in Malaysia reopening from June 1, 2020.

malaysian students in uk universities

Some visa application centres in Malaysia have reopened. Source: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

Malaysian students in UK universities should note that rules for sponsors are now relaxed and English language requirements judged differently.

Post-graduation, Malaysian students in UK universities can look forward to working in the UK for two years under the new visa route announced last year. They can stay in the UK for up to two years after graduating in summer 2021 as long as they enter the UK by April 6, 2021 and complete their final semester in the country.

According to the UK Home Office, “The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route.

“This includes students who have already started their courses. Universities will also be able to attract students starting in the 2020/21 academic year on the basis that they will benefit.”

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