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University invited to take part in streamlined Masters visa pilot

Streamlined Masters visa pilot

The University of Reading will be taking part in a pilot to streamline the process for international Masters students wanting to study in the UK.

The Home Office announced today (Monday 18 December) it would be extending its pilot to 23 additional universities across the UK, including the University of Reading.

The trial scheme will be open to prospective masters students applying for the 2018/19 intake and will streamline the process for applicants looking to study on a 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.

Vincenzo Raimo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, said: 

“As an ambitious, outward-looking institution with a large community of international students, we appreciate anything that will make it easier for us to welcome students from abroad. We are happy to be participating in this pilot programme.”

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.  

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.” 

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.

Currently in its second year with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Imperial College London, 23 additional universities (including Reading) 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.

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