Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) - usually known as ‘Brexit’ - is bringing in changes to the way that international students apply to study in the UK.
The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020, but has been undergoing an 11-month ‘transition period’. This will come to an end on 31 December, and the rules for international students are changing alongside this.
In October, the UK government launched their new points-based immigration route for students. The scheme is replacing the old schemes for both EU and other international students, and will now be what all international students use to apply to study in the UK.
How does the points-based system work?
In order to qualify for student entry to the UK, you will now need to qualify for 70 points. There are three types of points - study, financial, and English language - and they are all worth different amounts of points.
Study requirements are worth 50 points - the majority of your necessary total. To get your study points you must:
Have an unconditional offer from an approved institution. When applying for your visa you will be asked for your Confirmation and Acceptance for Studies (CAS), which you’ll get once you’ve been made an offer on a course.
Be taking a course that leads to an approved qualification at an appropriate level of study.
Have any relevant qualifications needed to take the course.
Financial requirements are worth 10 points. To get your financial points you must:
Be able to prove that you can financially support yourself during your stay in the UK.
English language requirements are also worth 10 points. To get your English language points you must:
Prove that you can read, speak, and write English to the required level for the course you wish to undertake.
If you meet all of these criteria, you will have the 70 points necessary to come to the UK and study under the new points-based system.
The new system applies to all international students starting courses after 1 January 2021, in the UK currently and intending to stay beyond 31 December 2020; or coming to the UK before 31 December 2020 and intending to stay beyond 31 December 2020.
You’ll be able to apply for a student visa six months before your course start date.
Student applications cost £348, and you’ll also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Once you’ve paid this, you’ll be entitled to use the National Health Service (NHS).
To find out more about applying, studying, and working in the UK as a student, check out our Knowledge Base.