The sun rose on January 1st in the year 2020, marking a turn of the decade. The 21st Century had now stepped into the 2020s, instilling people with a little bit of hope for the months to comes.

By the time the month of March arrived, the majority of the world was now facing an unparalleled health crisis and global emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic made it imperative for governments to take drastic measure to safeguard their people’s health and wellbeing.

Along with many other countries around the world, the United Kingdom imposed lockdowns and released orders for remote work, school closures, online learning, and social distancing guidelines.

Travel bans, both within the UK and to other (EU and non-EU) countries left many stranded. Concerns for those visiting the UK for work, education or travel purposes had concerns regarding overstaying their visas as flights and borders in the UK and other countries closed temporarily.

Among other overseas people in the UK, international students currently enrolled and seeking admission in UK universities feared the repercussions of the pandemic. As universities switched to online learning and campuses closed down to minimise the spread of the virus, international students with visas approaching expiry were figuring how to extend their stay or go back home.

It was not only international students who were worried about accommodations, studies, and their visas. On the flip side, UK universities were concerned about enrolments for the coming academic year as fall applications had yet to be assessed in 2020.

In fact, early predictions, based on general assumptions, showed that international enrolment numbers would decline during and after the pandemic. With uncertainty regarding travel bans, virus transmission and COVID-19 vaccines, universities in the UK expected fewer international students.

However, the situation, in reality, is far from these predictions.

According to a publication by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), UK universities are set to get a record number of international enrolments – despite the ongoing global pandemic.

To be more specific, universities in the UK experience a 9% increase in non-EU international student enrolments in 2020. This fact laid to rest to the UK universities’ concerns regarding falling international student numbers and the financial loss that comes with it.

Even though the numbers for international enrolments for the year 2021 are yet to be recorded and the pandemic continuing, international students are continuing to pursue higher education in the UK.

While there are various reasons for international students choosing UK universities, today we’ll be looking at the changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they’re swaying applicant decisions to study in the UK.

International students can now apply for Student visa early

Under previous regulations, international students who had been admitted to a HEI(Higher education institute) sponsor university had to apply for their general UK student visa six months before their courses commenced.

This left little room for international students to finalise their arrangements while still worrying about whether they’ll be able to make their way to the UK or not.

During the pandemic, this regulation was revised to accommodate travelling restrictions and necessary quarantining. Now, international university applicants in the UK can apply for their Student visa six months before the degree begins.

Also, the UKVI issues the entry clearance permission for three months means they can come to the UK in three months before and also the University no longer putting the restriction to the students to come to the UK before the course commence.

This will allow them to arrive in the UK earlier and go through self-quarantine before classes start.

Students can start learning online

There is an ongoing debate regarding how international students will be missing out on the UK university experience due to the pandemic as classes are taking place online for the most part. Both academic and social aspects of university life living on campus and near college towns take away some of the charms of studying abroad.

While that is true on some levels, it provides international students to begin learning online without having to travel to the UK. As per Boris Johnson’s latest address regarding school closures, academic institutes are likely to continue online for now.

Whenever on-campus classes commence, universities will likely call students back on a staggered basis. Students will be called back in small groups once the vaccines are rolled out properly across the UK. This means that courses will be covered using a hybrid model and students won’t be forced to attend classes in person.

International students will be able to start attending classes online instead of missing out. They will be receiving the same quality of education UK universities are touted for and get an accredited degree.

Published On: February 22nd, 2021 / Categories: Life in UK /

Share This Article:

Leave A Comment