Scottish Universities to Trial Easier Visa Rules

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh are among 23 institutions which will pilot a scheme that should make it easier for some foreign students to get visas or find permanent work in the UK.

The pilot will streamline the processes for courses of 13 months or less. Students from countries within the European Union and European Economic Area do not need visas to study in the UK, although it's currently unclear what position they will be in after Brexit.

According to government, the pilot provides greater support for students who wish to switch to a work visa and take up a graduate role as it allows them to remain in the UK for six months after they have finished their course, compared with current rules, allowing for four months.

Those universities taking part will also be responsible for eligibility checks, which means students can submit fewer documents than required in the current process.

Under the pilot, all students will continue to require Home Office security and identity checks and those not meeting immigration rules will be refused.

Commenting on the scheme, 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.

"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."

Glasgow and Edinburgh welcomed the pilot, but the Scottish government said it was disappointed it had taken over a year for the scheme to be implemented.