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Is the UK your dream destination? Here's a letter to you from the government
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  • Is the UK your dream destination? Here's a letter to you from the government
Roshna Mohan

Roshna Mohan is a Content Writer at Hotcourses India - an IDP company. A post-graduate in Biotechnology, she chose content writing as her career out of sheer interest. Reading and cooking are her stress-busters. Talk about these to take the introvert out of the ambivert. Her all-time favourite authors are Paulo Coelho, Yuval Noah Harari and Robin Cook.

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02 Jul 2020 Book icon 4 mins Share

Is the UK your dream destination? Here's a letter to you from the government

Read the key points and major takeaways from the UK government’s open letter, reaffirming their commitment to international students and quality education.

02 Jul 2020 Book icon 4 mins Share
Is the UK your dream destination? Here's a letter to you from the government

The pandemic has significantly affected all areas of life, leaving a lot of uncertainties. This has particularly been a blow to international students as their study abroad dreams were affected by border closures and the suspension of on-campus classes. International students face several hurdles including uncertainty around travel restrictions, visa applications, university entry requirements and semester start dates. The UK government has recognised these issues and has come up with measures to support international students interested in studying in the UK.

The UK, with their world-renowned institutions, top-rated higher education system, offering a dynamic lifestyle and post-study work options, remains a desirable destination for international students. With this in mind, the Education and Universities Ministers of the four countries of the United Kingdom, namely England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have drafted a letter to express their commitment to the wellbeing of international students.

Can I still apply for the 2020/2021 academic year?

Recruitment for the 2020/2021 academic year is happening currently. Students have 100+ prestigious universities to choose from, 18 of which made it to the top 100 universities as per the QS World University Rankings. Four of these can boast of being in the top ten. Some of these universities conduct world-class research and are at the forefront of the world’s fight against the coronavirus.

Most of the universities in the UK are aiming for a phased return to on-campus learning in 2020. If the situation is favourable, 97 per cent of institutions in the UK are keen on reopening for the autumn semester.

If you intend to study in the UK this year and need more information, you can refer to the UK Council for International Student Affairs, which has a comprehensive range of resources.

What is the new graduate route for students in the UK?

The new graduate route is designed to assist international students. Students are eligible to work or look for work in the UK for two years after finishing their studies. You should have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a UK university or a higher education provider, and also have a track record of compliance. This, along with a valid Tier 4 visa will automatically give you access to post-study employment opportunities. The rule also applies to students present in the UK before 6th April 2021.

Your rights will not be affected even if you start your studies online in 2020 and transitioned to on-campus learning at a later stage. You will remain eligible on the Tier 4 visa scheme. This is especially beneficial given the uncertainties around the travel restrictions due to coronavirus.

What are the updated visa procedures?

The UK government wants to reassure students that the government is committed to making the visa process as easy as possible. They are confident that the students will be able to apply for and receive a Tier 4 visa on time so that it does not impede their study plans in any way.

They are closely monitoring the border and travel restrictions while giving due importance to public health so that they can offer timely and detailed advice to international students. Meanwhile, the government would like the students to get started with their applications and familiarise themselves with the visa processes. Students are encouraged to get in touch with the universities and clarify doubts about the requirements for visa applications. They can also visit the government website to get up to date information. Having all your documents ready and waiting is the key.

Some visa processing centres have opened and the UK government are hoping that many more will be open in the coming months so that they can process the applications as quickly as possible.

What health advice and support are the government offering?

The government has made it clear that they will be religiously following the health advice and scientific guidance available. They will be updating the latest information on their dedicated website if and when there is any. Their ultimate aim is to provide a low-risk atmosphere for the residents as well as students and hence they have come up with a plan to keep the transmissions as low as possible. As per the plan:

  • Students will need to provide their contact information and travel details upon arrival
  • Students will have to self-isolate for 14 days
  • Students will have to wear a face-covering/mask on public transport in England and Scotland
  • Wherever social distancing is not possible, people are encouraged to wear a mask.

Universities will be responsible for students from the moment they arrive in the UK, and they will support students throughout the duration of their stay. The government has been working with universities to ensure that the process is well managed. The NHS services will also be accessible to students.

Will all this impact the quality of my education?

The government is working together with the universities to ensure education is not negatively impacted by the changes. It is true that the entry requirements and modes of admission and learning are quite different from what was expected. However, steps have been taken to ensure that the quality of education is not affected. Universities are committed to maintaining high standards and the international recognition of your degree will remain even if you had to opt for online learning. Many UK universities have embarked on innovative and high-quality online learning programmes to provide uninterrupted academic learning for students.  

Government is also working closely with Office for Students, an independent higher education regulator in England, which ensures that the higher education providers meet their obligations for quality and standards. This will ensure that the students are ready with a qualification that the employers value. This quality assurance has also been conducted in Scotland with the Quality Assurance Agency and Education Scotland, and in Wales by collaboration with The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

It might be worth to mention that a graduate student survey conducted by Universities UK International (UUKi) found that 83 per cent of students who held a degree from a UK institution said that it helped them find employment in many countries across the world.

In short, you do not have any reason to hesitate if you are considering applying to study in the UK. The government is committed to providing quality education, employment opportunities and relentless support, while also focusing on student health and wellbeing.

If you want to find out exactly what the government said, you can read the full letter that is addressed to international students. Be on top of things and make sure to stay in touch with your prospective university to keep your study abroad plans on track.

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