A total of twenty-three universities have joined an extended pilot scheme that aims to make it easier for foreign students to apply for and be granted UK visas or work permits, according to the UK immigration minister.
Currently in its second year, the scheme is designed to streamline the process of UK visa applications for international students who want to study on courses of one year or less.
It also aims to provide foreign students with greater levels of support if they decide to move from a student visa to a UK work permit, which will allow them to remain in Britain for at least six months following the conclusion of their course.
The universities taking part, including the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow and Bath, are handed responsibility for checking student eligibility for the scheme. This results in applicants having to complete fewer documents than the traditional UK visa process, despite the continued requirement than they complete Home Office identity checks.
Commenting on the extension of the scheme, immigration minister Brandon Lewis added that represents the government’s ongoing drive to ensure the country’s universities remain “highly competitive”.
“The UK continues to be the 2nd most popular destination for international students and the number coming to study at our universities has increased by 24% since 2010,” he said.
“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.”
Other universities added to the extended pilot scheme include Cardiff University, Queen’s University Belfast, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the University of Edinburgh.