There are a lot of changes in the UK Government guidelines for higher education due to Coronavirus(COVID-19). These steps are taken to protect the interest of the students and at the same time to stabilise the Higher Education sector.
In this blog, we will be talking about the Tier-4 VISA process, quarantine time, health benefits, student number control, and more.
1. Student Number Controls
The government has announced a temporary and limited student number controls will be put in place at various universities for the academic year 2020/2021 to ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across them. This number control is temporary and is only applicable to domestic/EU students and will only apply to full-time, undergraduate students, with certain specified exemptions.
The good thing is that this rule will not be applicable to international students outside the EU. Though the exact level of the control and exemptions is not yet disclosed.
2. Graduate Immigration Route (GIR)
It is very much happening. It’s guaranteed by Home Secretary and PM himself, that this new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route.
And the best part is that this includes students who have already started their courses, even if, due to coronavirus, they have needed to undertake some of their learning remotely.
3. Quarantine Time
For the safety of everyone, it will be mandatory for people travelling to the UK to go in self-isolation for 14 days. To make this thing possible and convenient for students, universities are now working on having arrangements for it.
4. Health in the UK
Immigration Health Surcharge(IHS) will give students full access to the National Health Service(NHS) that will now include COVID-19 treatment as well. The tests for coronavirus does not carry any charge and the treatment will also be free of cost. The good thing is that students on Tier-4 Visa will have the same rights as British citizens.
5. Tier-4 Process and Policies
The visa process will remain the same, there will be no changes in funding requirements. COVID-19 test is not mandatory for students to apply for visas although Tuberculosis test will still be mandatory. Like before, the process will be to apply online and later come to Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) to submit your documents. There will be no e-visa process for the UK as biometrics is important to have visibility in the system.
The entire visa application and document submission process will involve social distancing measures, regular sanitization, use of masks and gloves. For students who are stuck in the UK can now extend their visas and can only travel back to their home country once visa centres are open. However, Priority and super-priority visas won’t be available immediately and the standard processing time will be 15 working days.
6. Hardship Funds
Considering the current situation in which students are facing financial difficulties and many need mental health support as well. The Office for Students has said that education providers can draw upon existing student premium funding, totalling £46m across April and May, without sanction. This funding must be used to increase the hardship funds, and support disadvantaged students affected by coronavirus.
7. Enhanced Clearing Process
Each year there are over 30,000 courses available in the clearing process, but in 2020 the government is expecting the number to be even higher. UKVI has reported that students going to the UK has increased by 136% from last year. The process provides new opportunities for students to review their decisions and to change their firm choice if they wish to join some other course.
So these are the 7 most important points which you must go through to know about the latest updates regarding the admission and visa process.