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University of East Anglia joins student visa pilot

A pilot which is looking at streamlining the process for international Masters students wanting to study in the UK has been extended by a further 23 universities including the University of East Anglia, the Immigration Minister announced today. 

Currently in its second year with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Imperial College London, the pilot will streamline the process for international students looking to study on a Masters course of 13 months or less in the UK. It also provides greater support for students who wish to switch to a work visa and take up a graduate role, by allowing them to remain in the UK for 6 months after they have finished their course.

Universities taking part are given responsibility for eligibility checks, meaning that students can submit fewer documents than required in the current process alongside their visa applications. Applicants that do not meet immigration rules will be refused. All students will continue to require Home Office security and identity checks.  

The additional 23 universities to benefit from the pilot include two in Scotland, two in Wales, one in Northern Ireland and universities from across England.
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said:
“I am delighted to announce the expansion of this pilot which is part of our ongoing activity to ensure that our world-leading institutions remain highly competitive.
“The UK continues to be the second most popular destination for international students and the number coming to study at our universities has increased by 24% since 2010. 
“This is a clear indication that genuine students are welcome and there is no limit on the number who can come to study in the UK.” 

University of East Anglia Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson said: 
“We welcome the Minister’s encouraging announcement that UEA will participate in the Home Office Tier 4 visa pilot. Our international students bring immeasurable cultural, academic and economic benefits to UEA, the city of Norwich and the wider region. This pilot will enable our talented graduates to stay on for six months and develop their research, creative and entrepreneurial skills for the wider benefit of our society.”   

The most recent Home Office statistics show that the number of students applying for visas increased by 8% over the past year, and there has been a 9% increase in the number of students applying to Russell Group universities.
The 23 additional universities will be able to apply the pilot to their 2018/19 intake. The universities were selected as their visa refusal rates are consistently the lowest in their area or region.