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UK confirms post-study work stands if onshore by April 2021

The UK Home Office has confirmed that international students will remain eligible for post-study work rights upon graduation if they begin or continue their studies online in the 2020/21 academic year.

Students will be pleased to learn their visa status will not be impacted by beginning studies online. Photo: GCShutter

"Our future students are making decisions now, we need confirmation now"

The news will be welcomed by those working in universities and key stakeholders advocating for the UK to come out fighting to maintain its market share of international students.

International students will still be eligible to access the graduate immigration route as long as they are in the UK by April 6 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.

“If students are required to either continue their current studies or commence a new course by distance or blended learning due to Covid-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if they spent some time studying outside the UK,” states the guidance.

Among those calling for clarity were sector bodies UUKi, UKCISA and BUILA, which had outlined a series of measures required to “kickstart the recovery” of the sector.

These included ensuring online study does not disqualify students from Graduate Route: “students who study part of their course online and spend less than 11 months in the UK as a result, should not miss out on the Graduate Route”, said the position paper.

The graduate route was announced in September 2019, planned to come on stream as the UK adjusts its immigration system and formally leaves the European Union.

“This is a long awaited and overdue announcement from the government and is desperately needed to help institutions deliver as much as possible from a pipeline that was looking so promising just a few short months ago,” commented Gary Davies, PVC for student recruitment and business development at London Metropolitan University.

“The delay in the announcement is ensuring that students are seriously considering other options.”

Davies also called for further guidance from UKVI: UK sector bodies are calling for the UK to extend the window for making visa applications to six months from the current three to give students confidence that they will have a valid visa when they travel to the UK.

“It would also have a similar impact to have UKVI update their guidance ahead of the end of next month. Our future students are making decisions now, we need confirmation now,” said Davies.

The closure of embassies and language testing centres have caused widespread global concern about delays in processing affecting the plans of thousands of students.

Post-study work visa offerings play a vital role in attracting and retaining international students, with the UK seen to have lost market share since work rights were rescinded several years ago.

IDP Connect has also shared student search data indicating that since Canada confirmed the same rules on online study not impacting post-study work rights, there had been an uptick in corresponding search requests for Canada on their platform.

Australia’s Phil Honeywood of IEAA has also spoken of an expectation that Australia will follow suit, although international students are also being prioritised as international arrivals.

In the same week as the Home Office clarified rules in updated Tier 4 guidance, former UK universities minister Jo Johnson called for the government to double the length of the UK post-study work visa from two to four years to help the sector overcome the double shock of Covid-19 and Brexit.

UUKi, UKCISA and BUILA also want delayed implementation of visa system in Europe to January 2022 to avoid imposing new barriers for EU students.

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24 Responses to UK confirms post-study work stands if onshore by April 2021

  1. hope this statement would be implemented.
    It would be far better for international students and may attract more international students from upcoming intake.

  2. Hello,
    Just want to confirm that what about the students who are currently in UK during COVID-19,
    and completing their course before September 20.
    Are they eligible for Post Graduate Route..

  3. just want to confirm that students who are in the uk already and will complete there study on june 2021,are they eligible?

  4. How about for new applicants who are already inside UK and can’t travel back to home country for visa application. Will they be given a chance to apply inside UK for tier 4 visa without going to their home country in midst of travel restrictions and chance of contracting infection.

  5. According this news,student can apply PSW from 6 April 2021. Can “Jan 2021 graduates” apply for this scheme. Because our Tier-4 visa going to expire in end of may 2021.

  6. One of the main concern with many international students I know who are planning to study in Uk is that whether this psw of ‘upto’ two years will depend on duration of students course (as it is in Canada)

    Until and unless everything comes out with clear rules, a lot of students are preferring Canada over Uk since it has a proper system for psw rights in place.

    Everyone is shouting about 2 year PSW hype but no clear criteria is issued till now.

  7. What about the students who are currently in UK during COVID-19,
    and completing their course before September 2020? Are they eligible for Post Graduate Route?

  8. I finish my course in october 2020 and my visa expires in February 2021. So will I be eligible? If not, what option do I have to be eligible for this?

  9. Please let the PSW extend to current students, as students like us aren’t benefiting from university experience as well as the job opportunities under the current situation

  10. Students that started studies in January 2020 and to finish in June 2021, are they eligible to the post study visa ?

  11. The worst part for graduating in september 2020 is that half of the year is wasted due to the covid-19 pandemic so most firms are not looking to hire international students and sponsor them tier-2 work visa because the firms know that next batch of students in 2021 will have PSW so they need not sponsor them which makes stressful situation for students graduating in 2020 due to change of uncertain policies and visa issues !

  12. I’m curious to know the stand of student that will be graduating in May and June 2021. Will these students qualify for the 2 years post study opportunity as well?

  13. My college has an affiliation with a university in UK, we have an option to complete our final year in UK, this will be a credit transfer. My final year in UK starts in October 2020 and ends in July/August 2021. I am raising this query in light of the fact that I shall be studying in UK for my final year only. Will I be eligible for this post study work visa?

  14. Hi
    I completed my masters course in jan 2020 and expected to graduate feb 2021

    I have a visa u till June 2021
    Am I eligible for PSW ?

  15. I have got an offer for MSC 2020/2021 , but due to covid 19;they are starting online
    Will still I will be eligible for post study visa

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