UK – New International Student Immigration Route

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The UK government has announced that an immigration route (which is part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system) for international students that was planned to open in January 2021 will now open on 5 October 2020. This is part of the significant efforts being made the UK government to open up borders as much as possible to international students.


Under the new immigration route, international students must achieve 70 points to be granted a visa. These points can be earned by

  • Receiving an offer from a recognized UK school or university
  • Being able to speak English, and
  • Being able & prepared to support themselves financially during their studies in the UK


Both EU & non-EU international students will be able to use the new immigration route, and with no limit on the number of visas available. This is in line with the UK government’s strategy & goal of enrolling 600,000 international students in UK higher education by 2030.


As Minister for Future Borders & Immigration Kevin Foster said – “Launching the Student route early sends a clear message to the world we want the best & brightest to come to the UK to study at our globally renowned education institutions”.


Cardiff University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said – “The new arrangements will send a clear message that we have the support of our government to welcome talented students from across the world to come & study with us”.


This new immigration route is in addition to the 2-year post-study work visa which will be available to all eligible students who graduate in the summer of 2021 or after. This new immigration route will allow undergraduate & graduate students to work or seek employment at any skill level after completing their courses at a recognized higher education institution.


In March 2020, the UK government had announced that it will switch to a points-based immigration system in January 2021. Under this system, all international students & skilled workers wanting to work or become permanent residents in the UK will have to achieve 70 points in the points-based system. For skilled workers to reach 70 points, they must get to 50 points by –

  • Providing evidence of a job offer from an “approved” employer at an “appropriate” skill level
  • Demonstrating a prospective salary of at least £ 25,600, and
  • Being able to speak English


These are “non-tradeable” factors on the points-based system, meaning they are always required. Additional points can be earned by having a “relevant” PhD or a STEM-related PhD, or having a job offer in a sector where there are not enough skilled workers (in which case they need not meet the £ 25,600 salary threshold).

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