London: U.K. government of policies made announcements to help international students including Indian students impacted by travel restrictions due to Covid-19. In addition to the recent announcement that a period of Covid-related online study will be counted towards requirements for post-study work visas, the Home Office has also announced a period of grace for students whose study visas were due to come to an end at the end of July 2020.
The latest guidance for the Home Office states:
“To allow time to make the necessary arrangements to leave the UK, if you have a visa or leave that was due to expire between the 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020, you will be given an extra month’s grace period within the UK to 31 August 2020. During the grace period the conditions of your stay in the UK will be the same as the conditions of your leave. So, if your conditions allowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during August 2020 ahead of your departure. If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional indemnity’.”
The policy is only the latest in a series of announcements from the U.K. government reflecting its more positive International Education Strategy under the leadership of Prime-Minister Boris Johnson who has long been an advocate for international students and exchange. Other policy announcements include:
· The introduction of two years post study work for all international students including Indian students following degree level study and three years following a PhD.
· Work rights for the dependents of international students.
· The recognition of Covid-related online study within the post-Study work regulations.
Welcoming this initiative, Study Group CEO Emma Lancaster said “We very much welcome the more pragmatic and supportive approach towards international students coming from the U.K. government at this challenging time. It is clear they are listening to the voices of international students and alumni as well as the education sector which welcomes its focus on a more welcoming International Education Strategy. This is good news for students, universities and all those who benefit from the tremendous benefits to society of international education.”
Full details on the latest visa changes impacting on international students can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents