A pilot scheme for the streamlined processing of international postgraduate students’ visa applications has been extended by the UK Home Office, after what is describes as a successful first stage at four universities.
The Immigration minister Brandon Lewis said he was “delighted” to extend the scheme, which is still referred to as a pilot, to 23 universities across the UK.
“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,” he said in a statement released by the Home Office.
The process is designed to make Tier 4 visa applications more straightforward, with prospective Master’s students having to submit fewer documents, and includes the provision of greater support for students wishing to pursue post-study work in the UK.
This includes assistance switching visa type, and allowing a 6-month period after graduation when students can remain in the UK and look for graduate roles.
Since 2016, the University of Oxford; Cambridge; Bath and Imperial College London have been able to offer this pilot process to students.
The 23 universities will be enabled by this pilot for the 2018/19 intake of students. They have been chosen as “their visa refusal rates are consistently the lowest in their area or region”, though it is unclear why the number was chosen.
Chief executive of the Russell Group of UK universities, Tim Bradshaw, welcomed the extension as “good news”, and added that the group hopes the pilot can be extended further, to those institutions that can show visa compliance.
“We hope to see this scheme rolled out more widely as soon as possible to those universities that can demonstrate high levels of compliance with the visa regulations,” he said.
The PIE News has contacted The Home Office for comment and clarification on the decision making process.
The 23 universities to be added to the pilot are:
- Cardiff University
- Goldsmiths University of London
- Harper Adams University
- Newcastle University
- Queen’s University Belfast
- The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
- University of Bristol
- Durham University
- University of East Anglia
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Essex
- University of Exeter
- University of Glasgow
- University of Leicester
- University of Liverpool
- University of Manchester
- University of Nottingham
- University of Reading
- University of Sheffield
- University of Southampton
- University of Wales Trinity St. David (Swansea Campus)
- University of Warwick
- University of York