Due to the coronavirus outbreak, most students in the UK have been participating in distance learning and online courses instead of physically attending schools and universities. The pandemic has also resulted in a drastic decline in the number of prospective students intending to come to the UK for the upcoming academic year which is due to start in September 2020. The Government has therefore announced a range of measures to protect students and universities from the impact of the coronavirus.
The Government has announced that student number controls will be temporarily put in place for full-time, undergraduate, UK and EU students for the 2020/21 academic year, and the Education Secretary will have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places on top of this set number, of which 5,000 will be for students studying nursing or allied health courses. This measure will not apply to non-EU students, which could assist international students’ university admission prospects due to the drop in competing domestic and EU applications.
The Government has also promised to continue working with the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) to “bolster the Clearing process this year”. A new support service will be launched which can suggest alternative opportunities to prospective students based on their achievements and interests, should they wish to change their choice of Higher Education provider or course.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson further acknowledged the important contribution made by international students to Higher Education in the UK on several levels and emphasized their social, cultural and economic significance. The Government will apply discretion to ensure that under the current pandemic, international students are not negatively impacted if they are unable to comply with certain visa rules due to the virus outbreak. You can find further information in our previous blogs regarding visa guidance on short-term and Tier 4 students and their spouses who are currently in the UK and who are unable to return home due to the coronavirus.
If you currently hold a Tier 4 student visa but fear that you will not be able to return to the UK should the lockdown measures continue, or wish to discuss the feasibility of coming to study in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Please note that the information in this blog is current at the date and time of posting. The situation regarding policy and guidance based on the COVID-19 pandemic is subject to change at short notice. We shall be monitoring all aspects of UK immigration which may be impacted by the coronavirus closely, so please do keep updated with further blogs and articles which we will be posting on this site.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.