Glasgow University has joined 21 other institutions across the country in a pilot plan that will aid international students’ access to higher education in the UK. The scheme covers courses lasting up to 13 months and simplifies the visa application process for prospective students.
In order to study in the UK, international students are required to obtain Tier 4 visas. The pilot plan involves the delegation of responsibilities regarding eligibility checks to the involved universities. Students are consequently required to submit less documentation with their visa applications than before. Emphasis, however, has also been placed on the fact that applicants who fail to meet immigration rules will be refused and that it is still a requirement that all international students undergo Home Office security and identity checks.
The term 'international students' refers to all students coming to study from outside of the UK, excluding the European Union and European Economic Area (however, Brexit may alter these students’ circumstances in the future). Although this programme does not benefit European students, who are not currently required to have a visa in order to study in the UK, it could make studying a Master's course in the UK a more achievable option for students from Asia, Australia and elsewhere in the world.
The government states that the pilot scheme also facilitates easier transition from study to work for international students, as it allows them to remain in the UK for six months following the completion of their course compared to the four months currently permitted. Furthermore, the universities themselves view the scheme as a method of ensuring that their renowned establishments remain highly competitive and attract intelligent students from across the world.