UK Visas and Immigration has recently announced an update on the exemptions to Tier 4 guidance as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. UKVI also finally provided a bit more clarification on the Post-Study Work Visa (GIR) set to come in force in Summer 2021 within that update as well. Please find below the key changes:
Updates to Tier 4 exemptions due to Covid-19
UKVI have confirmed that Sponsors will be able to issue CAS to students who need to commence their studies by distance/blended learning.
This is permissible where students intend to transition to ‘traditional’ face-to-face learning ‘as soon as circumstances allow’.
This concession has been put in place for the duration of the 2020/2021 academic year and will be regularly monitored by UKVI.
Graduate Immigration Route/Post-Study Work visa
Route is still scheduled to launch in Summer 2021.
UKVI has confirmed that students who have to undertake some of their study online, by distance or blended learning, are still eligible to apply for the Graduate route.
Students will need to enter the UK latest by 6th April 2021 and complete the final term/semester of their study in the UK in order to be eligible to apply for the route.
Students will need to have valid leave to remain on their existing Tier 4 visa when the route opens in Summer 2021 in order to be eligible to apply.
For example if the student completes his/her first semester online in January and is able to travel to the UK after the restrictions are withdrawn, he/she will still be eligible for the 2 year extension under the Graduate Immigration Route scheme.
UKVI will continue to keep us updated on all developments with this route.
This is a confirmation that the temporary concession allowing students to study by distance-learning on a Tier 4 visa will continue to apply through the 2020/2021 academic year, due to the ongoing uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Note that this is only permissible where a student intends to travel to the UK and commence face-to-face study as soon as possible, and that UKVI intend to monitor that this concession is being ‘used appropriately’.