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  • Writer's pictureAsif Jalal

Why should you consider studying in UK in 2021: A year of change!

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The UK is all set to roll out the red carpet for international students in 2021 with a number of positive developments on cards deemed as promising for international students. As one of the famous places for international education, the UK has been an epitome of quality education for decades. The education system is tailored to impart excellent education and experience leaving graduates ready for the global workforce. The UK is forefront in the world research and scientific investigations. British scientists and institutions have been conferred with more than 100 Nobel prizes in different fields giving UK a second place after USA in the highest number of Nobel Prize awardees. The generosity of the UK is world famous offering many grants and scholarships to international students to fund their education. The Chevening awards or commonwealth scholarships can fully fund your study while each UK University has its own portfolio of scholarships for international students. The oldest University in the UK is Oxford which has supplied many great brains to the world.

Most importantly, the UK has London, a melting pot of many cultures, languages and people. It is estimated that there are more than 300 languages spoken across London and has more Indian restaurants than any big city such as Delhi or Mumbai in India. This is simply fascinating and one can imagine the degree of diversity the place offers to the world. Well, let's come back to our main topic, and check out, why you should consider studying in the UK in 2021.

Return of Post Study Work Visa: - The hostile scrapping of post graduate work permit in 2012 led to a dip in the number of international students going to the UK in following years. The recent announcement about the return of the work permit after study ended the long wait of UK higher education sector and international students. Students graduating from any full time degree in summer 2021 and onwards are entitled for up to 2 years work permit. This student immigration route, as it is called, allows students to search a suitable job or start any business to further the settlement chances in the UK. The graduates won’t require a certificate of sponsorship (COS) from University but need to graduate from a designated educational institution. A new visa fee and Immigration health surcharge (HIS) will be required to apply for the work permit while your tier 4 (study) visas must be valid at the time of application.

New point based visa system (DBS):- The UK will kick-start 2021 with the introduction of a new point based visa system slated to be in force from 1st January. Like Canada and other countries, the new model intends to streamline the visa process, attract and retain the right skill and talent, and offer a simplification of the current immigration system. The significant details available so far end the free movement of EU nationals and similar thresholds may apply to them as set out for non-EU applicants. The removal of restricted cap for tier 2 general visas and resident labor assessment are the significant changes welcomed by applicants and employers alike. The annual salary threshold is reduced to € 26200 from the earlier hefty €30,000 for the tier 2 general visa which is re-branded as new skilled worker route. The total of 70 points is needed to be eligible for the skilled worker route (tier 2) based on certain tradable and non-tradable factors. The applicants need to achieve the first 50 points on the basis of tradable factors (essential) including an offer of employment from an approved employer at an appropriate skill level and the necessary English language skills. The other 20 points can be achieved from the tradable categories which can help an applicant to earn additional points to make up for low salary but not less than €20480. The below chart can further explain you the scoring under this point based visa system.

Source: UK Home Office

Besides other changes, the restructuring of Tier 4 (study) visa is noteworthy and to be introduced earlier on 05 October 2020. The student needs to achieve the same total of 70 points instead of the earlier 50 points model to be eligible for a study visa. The 50 points are assigned to CAS letter while demonstrating sufficient English language and financials help you to receive 10 points each.

Impact of Brexit on international students: - The 11 month’s transition period for Brexit ends on 31 December 2020 with least probability to extend any further. The UK exiting the EU (European Union) colloquially called as Brexit has a significant effect on its higher education sector with an outright effect on the thousands of EU students and staff. It is yet to see how the referendum entails the international students but the slowdown of EU students enrolling in the UK universities after Brexit can make more slots available for non EU students. The other speculations are that Universities may also increase the recruitment of international students to subdue any financial challenge triggered by Brexit. Non-EU students believe that Brexit can provide a level playing field and equal opportunities for admission and employment in UK. The skill and merit would be prioritized rather than the nationality which is major objective of new visa regime.

Study on campus: - COVID 19 has led the world upside down so has impacted global education. Many countries have enforced travel bans and encourage students to adopt the online mode of study. However, the UK decided to open borders and Universities welcome international students on campuses allowing them to experience the life as a student in the UK. Certainly we seek education in overseas to learn within the context of the global atmosphere and online study doesn't serve that purpose.

The 2021 is apparently the year of change and the right time pick the UK as your destination for higher education. The two major intakes - January and September 2021 are round the corner, and it is the time to start preparing for educational journey in the UK.

All the Best!

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