Brexit, the legal action initiated by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, did have an impact on every field, including education.
Since the agreement became effective in 2020, nationals from both countries; the EU and the UK cannot stay in their respective countries for more than 90 days without applying for a visa, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
This means that students willing to pursue their academic career in the UK, have to apply for a study permit, in order to be able to legally reside in the country. Such changes made it difficult for international students to pick the UK as a study destination but the position of these students has changed a lot since 2020.
Three main changes noticed during these years include a simplified application process, which was enabled by the Home Office introducing the “UK Immigration ID Check App” for Student visa applications.
This app gives visa applicants access to use the biometric data of their EU passports or UK Biometric Residence Permits to submit their applications. Additionally, the app enables the biometric data to be used again, facilitating the process for applicants by lifting them from the requirement to apply for a visa in person.
Another change that has facilitated EU students’ life in the UK includes the abolishment of the requirement for students to prove they held sufficient funds to support themselves if they had been living in the UK with permission for more than one year before the date of application.
This has abolished what is often considered the most complicated element of the visa process for those that want to apply for a study visa extension or apply for other immigration categories. In addition, the financial documentation that was previously required by British authorities was very specific and sometimes a bit difficult to provide, which led to refusals of applications or delays in processing.
Another facilitation that has been introduced to EU citizens in the UK includes the graduate visa category, effective July 1, 2021. This visa allows international students that have graduated in the UK to prolong their legal stay in the country for another two years, or three years if the candidate is a PhD student, without any sponsorship. This immigration category was introduced after concerns that the UK’s efforts were insufficient to motivate students to pick the country as their study destination,
It further enables graduate visa holders to work and get skilled for their chosen career paths, but cannot secure permanent residence in the UK.