The UK government has issued new guidance regarding the post-study work visa. It has confirmed that international students, including Indians, will be eligible for the post-study work rights after completing their course even if they begin in the 2020-21 academic year.
According to the UK Home Office, the Graduate Visa route, commonly referred to as a post-study work visa will be provided to overseas students including Indians for 2020-21 intake amind the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) crisis. However, the two-year post-study work visa is available for students who are physically present in the UK by April 2021 to complete the final semester.
The UK Home Office report, COVID-19: Guidance for Tier-4 Sponsors and Migrants and for Short-term students, reads, "Students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route. However, if students are required to either continue their current studies or commence a new course by distance or blended learning due to COVID-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if they spent some time studying outside the UK."
It also reads, "Students will benefit from this concession if they enter the UK before 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK."
Vivienne Stern, Director of the Universities UK International (UUKi), said, "Indian students can now have confidence that even if they are unable to travel to the UK in the autumn to start their studies due to COVID-19, they will still be eligible to apply for the graduate immigration route if they are in the UK by April 2021."
"Short-term students who have been given an exceptional extension of leave in this category as a result of Covid-19 will be permitted to study on a further course other than that which they originally entered the UK to undertake," the report added.
It also reads, "Short-term whose leave expires after 31 July will also be permitted to study a further course, but only if they are unable to continue the course that they entered the UK to study by distance learning or they have completed their original course. The normal requirement to leave within 30 days of the end of study will not be applied to those who are unable to leave the UK due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak."
Earlier, King's College London and Harvard Kennedy School published a new report "Universities open to the world: How to put the bounce back in Global Britain." Mr Jo Johnson former UK Universities Minister suggested that doubling the post-study work visa from the two to four years will attract more Indian students. He predicted the number of India students in the UK can be doubled by 2024 after extending the post-study work visa.