The UK looks forward to continuing to welcome international and EU students in the future. They enrich UK higher education culturally, socially, and economically and are one of the reasons why our higher education sector remains world-class. The government has provided a number of reassurances for international higher education students already in the UK, as well as for those planning to study at a UK higher education provider from autumn 2020.
On 20 April, the government published bespoke guidance that brings together a number of visa concessions for international students in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. The guidance is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tier-4-sponsors-migrants-and-short-term-students.
The visa mitigations in this guidance, which will be kept under regular review, ensure that international students can extend existing visas, engage in online learning, and switch visa categories where needed in order to start new courses in the autumn.
The visa guidance published on 20 April also recommits to the new Graduate Immigration Route which, as previously announced, will be launched in the summer of 2021. Any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after this date will be able to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route. This includes students who have already started their courses even if, due to COVID-19, they have needed to undertake some of their learning remotely.
To address the longer-term impact of COVID-19, officials at the Department for Education and the Department for International Trade will consider how the International Education Strategy can be updated to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19.