Visa Crunch

United Kingdom: Current Visa System Preventing Students To Study Overseas

According to University UK (UUK) research, students at UK universities may lose opportunities of learning abroad, while short-term exchange students may be unable to study in the UK due to the UK’s current visa system, which affects the Turing Scheme.

Universities UK (UUK) stated in a press release that students staying for less than six months can use a conventional visitor visa, whilst those choosing to stay for longer must apply for a student visa, which has higher fees and harsher requirements.

As a result, UUK urged the UK government to increase the time that short-term exchange students can stay in the UK on visitor visas from six months to an academic year. According to the study, universities are seeing a significant shift among EU exchange students from year-long placements to shorter single-semester placements. It went on to say that non-EU students were less likely to stay in the country for an extended period of time.

Without inbound students, we risk losing opportunities for outbound visits. That’s why we want the government to make sure that the visa system works for incoming exchange students. We think this is really important if we want to make the Government’s newly launched Turing Scheme a success,” the Director of Universities UK International, Vivienne Stern said.

She also emphasized the significance of international students who come to the UK for a short period of time, stating that they make a significant contribution to the diverse culture of campuses, contribute to the economic development through their expenditure, and open up opportunities for UK students.

“Exchange students open up places in other universities around the world for our students to spend time studying abroad,” Stern added.

Universities UK’s call to restructure the Visitor Immigration pathway for exchange students was supported by Erasmus Student Network. The current 6-month period makes it very difficult for students from underprivileged backgrounds to travel abroad for mobility and are unable to cover the costs of alternative visa types, stated Iona Murdoch, President of the Erasmus Student Network UK.

The Turing Scheme is a UK government program that funds international exchanges in training and education around the world. The Turing Scheme provides funding for over 41,000 students to study and work abroad, was created to replace the Erasmus+ program, which the UK left after failing to reach a Brexit agreement with the European Union.

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