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UK Universities Pilot Plans for Easier Foreign Students’ Visas

A pilot scheme is being proposed to make it easier for some foreign students to get visas and find permanent work in Britain after graduation. The so-called Tier 4 visas should be the one that international students sought after, as it provides them with an option to switch to a work visa and allows them to stay in the UK for six months after graduation - compared with only four at present

The Tier 4 visa pilot scheme is already applied at four English institutions: Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Imperial College London. One of the 23 universities in the UK to join the scheme, which is expected to help more foreign students get visas and find permanent work in Britain, is Glasgow and another university joining too is Edinburgh.

The European Union and European Economic Area students do not need visas to study in the UK although it is still unclear what is their position after Brexit, however, students from the United States and the Far East could benefit greatly from the pilot scheme.

Brandon Lewis, UK Immigration Minister, said: "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% 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."

Dr Alasdair Allan, the Minister for International Development and Europe, said: "We urge the UK government to roll out these modest changes to the Tier 4 route to all universities as soon as possible.

"We remain concerned at the UK government's emphasis on visa refusal rates as the basis for including institutions in the pilot, as this can unfairly discriminate against smaller or more specialist institutions."



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