For students, UK working towards easing visa woes

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UK immigration minister James Brokenshire, who was in India recently, feels that there is an upswing in the number of Indian students applying for visas to the UK. “While there has been a drop in the number of Indian students going to the UK for higher education over the last few years, we would like to welcome more Indians to our world-class universities. During my visit I am speaking to many students and their parents to understand the issues,” minister Brokenshire told ET.
Addressing a big concern of students going to the UK, that the visa policy does not allow them to work in the country after they have finished their courses, he said that if they find graduate-level jobs, they could remain in the country after their courses are over. “There are many employers in the UK who are hiring international students for graduate-level jobs after their courses. These students can easily transfer from their student status to graduate-level employment visas while in the UK. Besides, these graduate student jobs do not count towards the overall cap of employment visas in the UK,” Brokenshire said.
He said that Indian students have a four-month window to apply for jobs in the UK after they’ve finished their courses, and nine out of 10 Indian students who applied for a student visa have received one. During his five-day visit to India, when he was in Delhi and Bengaluru to meet important stakeholders from education, travel and business visa sectors, the minister also announced a package of improvements in UK visa services in India. In Bengaluru, he met school students from Inventure Academy for their views on UK education and studying overseas.
The improvements announced include expanding the same day, super-priority visa services to first-time visitors and work visas. The three- to five-day priority visa service will now be expanded to visit, study and work routes allowing more customers in India the opportunity to get a visa decision faster.
From the end of this month, Indian visit visa applicants will be able to benefit from a new, quicker and easier online application form. As well as taking less time, the new online form will make it easier for customers going on holiday or for business to the UK and Europe, to apply for both UK and Schengen visas. Once the form has been filled, customers will be able to download an auto-completed Schengen application form to print and apply with. Initially the form will launch in English but it will be translated into Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati, making it more straightforward for customers across India to apply for their UK visit visas.
The minister also revealed the launch of a new visa application centre in Lucknow, the first in Uttar Pradesh. During a trip to a visa application centre in Delhi, Brokenshire said that last year there was a 17% increase in the number of visit visas issued in India.
On concerns of Indian companies over the intra-company transfer route under UK’s Tier-2 work visa, the minister said that UK’s migration advisory committee had produced a report based on various recommendations. “During my visit to India, I have been speaking to various representatives of industries who use the ICT route in a big way, and our government’s final decision will be based on their feedback as well,” he said.
Published on :http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/globalindian/for-students-uk-working-towards-easing-visa-woes/
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