UKIBC calls for Tier 4 student visas “assurances”

UKIBC calls for Tier 4 student visas “assurances”

The UKIBC has called on the UK Home Office to provide assurances regarding Tier 4 visas issued to foreign students who start studies online during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Fears that foreign students who have started their studies online or remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak will have to curtail their studies should their Tier 4 student visas be rejected after travel restrictions are lifted has led UKIBC to call for the Home Office to assure overseas students headed to the UK that their visas won’t be rejected.

As the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) continues to collaborate with the Home Office with regards to its new Graduate Immigration Route, it says it believes clarity is needed to keep UK attractive to international students after COVID-19.

They have shared recommendations with the UK Home Office to provide a clear view about the new Graduate Immigration Route to universities and students.

In the summer of 2021, the UK Home Office is launching a new Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) for post-study work.

UKIBC hopes this will relieve potential students’ concerns and reinforce that the UK welcomes international students as they help to accrue economic and social benefits across the UK economy and its society.

Steps recommended to keep UK attractive to foreign students after pandemic

UKIBC, a platform for UK universities and businesses involved in the UK-India relationship, has shared recommendations with the UK Home Office so they can provide greater clarity to universities and students.

The organisation believes that the adoption of these recommendations will positively impact the UK higher education sector and provide a bridge for the transfer of students, ideas, and collaborative projects between the two countries.

The 3 key recommendations made by UKIBC are:

  • Confirmation that the online element of the GIR will be accepted indefinitely, which will help to alleviate concerns that relevant applicants have.
  • Assurances that students that start their degrees remotely and online will not have to curtail studies due to issues in receiving their student visa to join on campus when travel restrictions are removed.
  • Finally, it will be important for the government to actively market the GIR with these clarifications. This, along with a message, when appropriate, that Britain is open, that universities are open and that the sector is working to respond to the current situation, would significantly help to attract more Indian students to study in the UK.

Tara Panjwani, Associate Director of UKIBC, said: “The number of Indian students coming to study in the UK doubled in the three years to 2018, and grew by a further 93 percent in 2019.

“It is therefore important that further measures help to continue this positive trend. Not least at this time when COVID-19 is dampening the desire of Indian and other international students to take-up studies in the UK this year.”

The UKIBC stated that it wholeheartedly supports the Graduate Immigration Route, and said it hopes that universities and students will receive all the clarifications they need in regard to what the UK has to offer to its international students.

UKIBC makes Tier 4 visas recommendations to UK Home Secretary

UKIBC has recommended to the Home Office to extend all Tier 4 student visas for both Indian and other international students who graduated in January 2020 from the UK with a view to facilitating them in finding employment  during the pandemic. 

The organisation believes this extension will help the UK avoid losing out on highly skilled individuals and will also show a positive sign to the Government of India, that the UK values Indian students. 

According to UKIBC, the number of Indians students coming to the UK has been on the rise, and measures like the Graduate Immigration Route post-study work visas will further help improve these numbers.

Zahra Hamdani - Reporter, Global Education Times (GET News)

Zahra Hamdani is an Ireland-based reporter for Global Education Times who focuses on European and South Asian education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Zahra is a school-teacher and educationist with experience in both Primary and Secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland as well as in Pakistan.

You can reach Zahra at zahra@globaleducationtimes.org

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