Easier visa process for those planning to earn Masters in the UK
More streamlined. Source: Shutterstock

More UK universities are joining a pilot scheme to streamline the processing of visas for students undertaking their master’s degrees in courses of 13 months or less, the BBC reported.

These 23 universities include two in Scotland, two in Wales, one in Northern Ireland and from across England. Among those named by The Northern Echo are Durham University, Newcastle University and the University of York. The Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Imperial College London are already running the scheme for the 2nd year.

UK Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said, as quoted by the BBC: “I am delighted to announce the expansion of this pilot which is part of our ongoing activity to ensure that our world-leading institutions remain highly competitive.

“The UK continues to be the second most popular destination for international students and the number coming to study at our universities has increased by 24 percent since 2010.

“This is a clear indication that genuine students are welcome and there is no limit on the number who can come to study in the UK.”

Although Glasgow and Edinburgh are happy they are included in the scheme, the Scottish government said it was disappointed it had taken over a year for this to happen

Foreign students – defined as those outside the European Union – will apply for the so-called Tier 4 visas. As of now, EU students do not need visas to study in the UK, although Brexit might very well change that position.

The pilot scheme aims to make the transition from a student to a work visa easier as well, by allowing graduate students to remain in the UK for six months after their course ends, instead of the current four, according to the UK government.

Universities will be responsible to check whether their students are eligible for the scheme – this means students only have to submit fewer documents than required in the current process of applying for their visas, although Home Office security and identity checks will continue as usual.

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