Given an opportunity, people would love to forget 2020 for many reasons. People have already started to look forward to 2021 with the hope that COVID-19 will finally go away. However, the UK Government is thinking from a different perspective. They are eyeing 2030 with the hope of luring 600,000 international students in the country. They believe it is an achievable target. As such, they are already making plans accordingly.
The UK Government Is Determined to Have 600,000 Students
Paul Jeffery said the UK government is all set and determined to lure international students to the country in a virtual conference. That is the reason why they have introduced the new immigration system. They believe that the new immigration system is simple and will attract many students into the country.
Let us discuss the rules of the new immigration system. The first rule has already been introduced on October 5, 2020. Applicants can already view it, and the remaining rules will be presented on December 1, 2020. The new flagship points-based skilled worker route is specially curated for the international students. There will be another new graduate route also. But students have to wait for it until summer 2021.
The best part of the new immigration route is that once students are on it, they do not have to worry about the maintenance requirement, English language proficiency, or sponsorships. The technological and infrastructural work is in the process. Students need to show that they have completed their course successfully. The government will give more details once the process is complete.
Students can work on any profession with their skills while they are on the route for two years. But that is possible only when they have a degree (preferably Masters) on a course. And they can stay in the country for three years if they have a doctorate on a course.
The two to three-year time will help students gain the experience required to navigate the immigration system and boost the economy in the long run.
However, everything is not so easy as it appears. There are questions to be answered regarding the policy. There are many queries regarding the eligibility criteria for the students pursuing articulation degrees in the UK or outside the country for two years.
There is another challenge for the government regarding the new immigration system. And that is the Home Office. How will they know if someone is eligible for the new immigration route? There has to be a system by which the Home Office will understand the individuals who have completed their course successfully. Hence they can submit their application. The UK government is working with UKCISA and many other organizations to determine the best way to do it.
Individuals on the immigration route will have to pay the immigration health surcharge. Plus, they will have to pay an application fee for it. The government has not yet decided on the breakdown of the fee structure. So, international students will have to wait for it.
Paul Jeffrey is hoping that the policy will get the official stamp by the end of 2020. The government will then write the policy guidelines in detail and pass the legislation by April 2021.
Paul Jeffrey feels that the new immigration route is getting positive vibes from the international arena. He said that the government is trying hard to make the graduation route as simple as possible. It is an elaborate procedure. They are trying to complete it as soon as they can. He also said,
“I think that’s a real advantage that we may have over some of our competitors who perhaps based their post-study options on the way you study, the way you plan to work regionally or more so on the level of study,”
As far as the Covid-19 situation is concerned, the UK government wants students to pursue studies in the UK to qualify for the graduate route. Many students have opted for remote learning due to the pandemic. But the UK government wants students to stay in the country and study. And, they have valid reasons for that.
First, the new immigration system does not have any maintenance requirements. So, the government wants some reassurance from the students. They want to check if students can abide by the visa rules and regulations. The UK government cannot check or determine if the students have studied in some other countries. That’s what the main problem is.
The new immigration system is in a nascent stage. So, the UK government is still lenient on the students. They allow students to apply for the new immigration system who have studied in foreign countries. However, there is a catch. Paul Jeffrey said that as long as students are in the UK by April 5, which also happens to be Easter Monday, people can apply for the new immigration route. The government is still reviewing the data. It may change later. The government is not ready to make any official declaration due to the pandemic and the international response.
The UK government is quite confident that international students will love the new immigration system concept. It is quite sure that the new immigration system will help to achieve their target by 2030. If everything happens as per their wish, then that is great. But the success of the new immigration system depends on the response from international students. What are they thinking? Are they interested in studying in the UK after the new points-based immigration system is launched? The competition is fierce. Japan and Canada are coming up with the latest visa rules to lure international students. They are even introducing policies to help international students set up businesses and stay in the respective countries for two years. International students are bound to be attracted by these policies. So far, the USA or the UK has not introduced such policies for international students. We have to wait and watch the latest developments in the next few months. Let us hope for the best.