The priority visa and super priority visa services for students resumed on August 12, meaning applicants who are prepared to pay more could now receive their visas in as quickly as 24 hours.
The government suspended this service without prior warning in March, saying at the time that it was prioritising processing visas for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK.
Months of visa delays followed, causing some students to miss their university start dates.
Stakeholders have welcomed the latest announcement, with agents believing that the change has come just in time for the upcoming academic year.
“I believe that it has just come at the right time,” said Amar Bahada, director at Indian agency Meridean Overseas Education Consultants. “If it had been a couple of more weeks, we would have ended up in a really messy situation.”
Bahada also said a quicker decision would give students more time to book flights, preventing them from being forced to pay for expensive last-minute journeys.
“If it had been a couple of more weeks, we would have ended up in a really messy situation”
But British embassies, including in India and Bangladesh, have taken to social media to warn students that demand will be high over the next few weeks ahead of upcoming course start dates.
The government is advising students to apply for their visas as soon as possible.
A spokesperson from Universities UK International said, “The resumption of priority visa services is a significant and positive development from UKVI which will help those international students looking to come to the UK in the autumn.
“We know that demand for student visas is high at this time of year and, with the start of the new academic year fast approaching, it is crucial that students apply for their visas as soon as possible to avoid any delays,” they continued.
Countries including Canada and Australia have also struggled with student visa delays in recent months, stalling the sector’s post-covid recovery.