Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Home Office written question – answered on 5th August 2019.

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Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth, published in March, what plans they have to introduce a new system of visas for international students to (1) enable the growth of international student numbers, (2) improve their experience of applying for visas, (3) reduce the administrative burden and be cost-effective, and (4) increase the reliability, transparency and accountability of the immigration system.

Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth, published in March, what plans they have to introduce a new system of visas for international students which would (1) increase the diversity of applicants, (2) be accessible to all applicants, and (3) be simpler for students and sponsors to understand and navigate.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

The Government welcomes international students and has an ambition to increase the total number of international students hosted in the UK to 600,000 per year by 2030. University-sponsored Tier 4 visa applications rose by 10% in the year ending March 2019 and are at their highest level on record. 97% of those who applied for a Tier 4 visa in 2018 were granted.

As set out in the immigration white paperThe UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ and supporting the International Education Strategy, we will increase the post-study leave period for postgraduate students to six months, and doctorate students to a year, and make it easier for graduates to switch into skilled work in the UK. We will also increase the post-study leave period for all undergraduates studying at institutions with degree awarding powers to six-months. These changes will benefit hundreds of thousands of students.

We keep the visa system under review to ensure it remains fit for purpose and that the UK’s visa system is world-class, with the aim of improving the customer journey both for students and their sponsoring institutions. This will include reviewing processes for conducting interviews to ensure that these are appropriately focused and to minimise any inconvenience for applicants and continuing to consider the increased use of differentiation, streamlining the application process by allowing students to benefit from reduced documentary requirements when applying for a visa.

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