UK relaxes post-study work visa rules for remote learners

Overseas students will only need to be in country by April to be eligible for post-study work visa if their course is finishing this academic year

January 7, 2021
Close-up of United Kingdom (UK) visa
Source: iStock

International students who are studying remotely will still be eligible to apply for the UK’s new two-year post-study work visa as long as their degree does not finish this academic year, under a concession announced by the Home Office in response to the pandemic.

The government had previously said that those studying by distance or blended learning because of the Covid-19 crisis would be eligible to apply for the new graduate route only if they are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK. This is still the case for students who started their courses before January 2021 and will finish their course in summer 2021.

However, under new guidance, the Home Office said that those who were studying courses that last longer than a year and that are not due to be completed in 2021 will still be eligible for the post-study work visa, even if they have studied all or part of the 2020-21 academic year via distance learning because of the pandemic.

Students starting a one-year master’s degree this month will also still be eligible to apply for the graduate route provided they are in the UK by 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.

Under guidance for England’s latest coronavirus lockdown, the return of more students to campuses was pushed back to “at least mid-February”, following this week’s return of learners studying medicine and health-related subjects, education and social work.

Vivienne Stern, director of Universities UK International, said that the concession was announced following work by UUK and that she was “really grateful to the Home Office for their flexibility and responsiveness”.

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