The United Kingdom will facilitate visa rules for international students coming to the country, according to an announcement issued by the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

According to this announcement, there will be flexibility in visa rules, with health precautions throughout the visa procedures in order to facilitate experiences for all, especially international students, VisaGuide.World reports.

Incoming international students are now allowed to apply for a study (Tier 4) visa when they plan to travel to the United Kingdom instead of waiting to start their courses in advance. Students admitted to study programmes in the UK are enabled to begin their courses online, at the same time to apply for a study visa once they are ready to do it.

In addition to this, students who are completing their courses online are also allowed to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route, if they are capable of proving that they will be staying in the UK by April 6, 2021, and complete their last semester of studies in the UK.

Meanwhile, when it comes to hygiene and safety, VFS Global, an outsourcing and technology services company that serves governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, including the UK, has applied protection measures in its UK Visa Application Centers abroad. Among these measures, the main ones are the obligatory online appointment system, checking all customers’ body temperature at the entrance, as well as keeping social distance.

As of July 6, 2020, UK Visa Application Centers which are receiving Tier 4 applications, have gradually re-opened in 11 cities in India, including:

  1. Chandigarh
  2. Ahmedabad
  3. Pune
  4. Chennai
  5. Jalandhar
  6. Kochi
  7. Hyderabad
  8. Kolkata
  9. Bengaluru (Global Tech Park only)
  10. Mumbai (Mahalaxmi only)
  11. New Delhi (Shivaji Metro Stadium only)

At the same time, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group Chief Operating Officer, South Asia, Middle East and North Africa and Americas, VFS said that they are committed to maintaining the highest standards of health and safety measures in compliance with the World Health Organization and local authorities’ rules.

“We are conscious that this is the time students will be applying for visas to travel to the UK for higher education and would like to reassure them of a safe and seamless visa application process, at our centres or via the doorstep service,” he added.

Whereas, the Regional Director for UK Visas and Immigration, South and South East Asia, David Ratcliffe, stated that during the past years, an increase has been marked in the number of students choosing to study in the UK universities, thus he expressed optimism that this autumn more of them will join UK universities.

“For those travellers, our message is clear: your safety is our highest priority. Throughout the visa application process and your travel to the UK, we are taking measures to ensure you are safe and secure. In addition, the new Graduate Route is guaranteed to open next summer – meaning those students heading to the UK this autumn will be able to apply for 2 years additional post-study leave to kick start their career in the UK,” he added.

In the year ending March 2020, 50,000 student visas to the United Kingdom were granted to Indian students, an increase of 136 per cent compared to the year ending March 2019, according to data published by the UKVI.

Meanwhile, almost 3,00,000 student visas were granted in total at a global level during the year ending March 2020, marking an increase of 23 per cent in the year ending March 2019.