Jan 10, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Good news if you’re an international student seeking a graduate degree in the UK: your visa process is about to get easier.

Last month, the UK government announced an extension of a pilot student visa plan to 23 more universities, which allows non-EU students six months to find a job upon graduation.

The plan was introduced last year as a pilot in Oxford, Bath, Cambridge, and Imperial College London.

In the plan’s second year, the pilot will streamline the process for international students looking to earn a master’s degree in 13 months or less in the UK.

Another perk? Students want to switch to a work visa and will have greater support.

Universities that partake in the plan are required to check eligibility—and students need to submit fewer documents than in the current process.

The additional universities to benefit this year include two in Scotland, two in Wales, one in Northern Ireland, and several others across the UK.

International students will apply for Tier 4 visas.

Applicants who do not meet immigration rules will be refused.

In an article on the BBC, UK Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis 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.”

He added, “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 percent since 2010.” 

The universities in Scotland welcomed the opportunity.  The University of Edinburgh’s senior vice principal, Charlie Jeffery said, “Almost three thousand of our international students stand to benefit from our participation in the scheme, which will enable them to either further their study or pursue their entrepreneurial ideas, and add to the UK’s pool of high-value graduate talent.”

The University of Glasgow seconded Scotland’s inclusion in the pilot. Principal and vice-chancellor Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli said, “Glasgow is a global institution ranked within the top 100 universities in the world and it is virtually important that international students continue to feel both welcome and valued when coming to our campus.”


Learn more about studying in the UK

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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