The United Kingdom which boasts of some of the best universities in the world such as Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics etc, has launched a new pilot visa scheme for overseas students. Under the new visa scheme which is targeted at the Master degree (13 months or less), overseas students would be allowed to stay in the UK after completing their education for up to 6 months. The new tier-4 visa pilot scheme launched by the UK Home Office is launched at Imperial College London, Cambridge, Oxford, and Bath universities.
The essential feature of this new visa scheme includes access to streamlined visa application managed by the respective universities and basically aims to reduce the hassles faced by a foreign student after the completion of their degrees. The move which comes just days after UK’s exit from European Union is being hailed as an attempt to improve a tarnished reputation of UK in dealing with foreign students, especially after its notorious change in post-study work visa rules in 2012 under which foreign students were debarred from staying in the UK after completion of their education. It was especially disastrous for students coming from low-income countries such as South Asia, Africa, and Latin America who, after spending in Pounds on their education, faced a dilemma leaving without recovering their expenditure.
For an instance, according to the Higher Education Funding Council of England, the number of students from India reduced considerably from 18535 in 2010-11 to 10235 in 2012-13 i.e. after the implementation of the restrictive visa scheme.
According to Professor Alice Gast of Imperial College London, “this pilot scheme is an encouraging step forward. The ability to stay on for six months will bring benefits to students and to the country as our talented graduates will be able to pursue their entrepreneurship ideas, further study or add to the UK’s talent pool.”
This scheme will apply from July 25, 2016, and would be open to students commencing their education in 2016-17 and 2017-18. The simplified visa scheme will continue all necessary documents with their visa application, requiring fewer evidential documents with the application through UK Home Office guidance. Thus the total length of the visa will cover 13 months of the degree course and an additional 6 months of stay after completion of the course.
The visa scheme is expected to run for 2 yrs from the commencement and would be extended further based on the success of it.