Posted on 18 December 2017
Currently in its second year with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Imperial College London, the pilot will streamline the process for international students looking to study on a Masters course of 13 months or less in the UK.
It also provides greater support for students who wish to switch to a work visa and take up a graduate role, by allowing them to remain in the UK for six months after they have finished their course.
Universities taking part are given responsibility for eligibility checks, meaning that students can submit fewer documents than required in the current process alongside their visa applications. Applicants that do not meet immigration rules will be refused. All students will continue to require Home Office security and identity checks.
The University of York's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, said: "The University is pleased to have been invited by the Home Office to take part in the second year of the Tier 4 Visa Pilot, which will help to simplify and streamline the visa application process for students applying for a Master's course at York.
"We attract academically able students from around the world and the opportunity the pilot provides to support students to take up opportunities in the six month period after the end of their study is particularly welcome.
"In particular, the pilot helps to support students who wish to switch into a work route and take up a graduate role by extending the leave period following the end of their study to six months."
"We look forward to participating in this important development and to working with the Home Office, our students and staff to make a success of this initiative."
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: “I am delighted to announce the expansion of this pilot which is part of our ongoing activity to ensure that our world-leading institutions remain highly competitive.
“The UK continues to be the second most popular destination for international students and the number coming to study at our universities has increased by 24 per cent since 2010.
“This is a clear indication that genuine students are welcome and there is no limit on the number who can come to study in the UK.”
The most recent Home Office statistics show that the number of students applying for visas increased by eight per cent over the past year, and there has been a nine per cent increase in the number of students applying to Russell Group universities.
The 23 additional universities will be able to apply the pilot to their 2018/19 intake. The universities were selected as their visa refusal rates are consistently the lowest in their area or region.