Minister urges more Pakistanis to study in the UK

A direct appeal to students in Pakistan to enrol in British universities has been made by Kevin Foster MP, the UK's immigration minister.

Two female and one male university student
In remarks released by the British High Commission in Islamabad on International Students' Day, Mr Foster encouraged more Pakistani students to choose the UK as a place to study as he highlighted changes in visa flexibility resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the new 'Student Route' visas being introduced next year.

"Student Route" visas - make it easier to apply to live and study in the UK

Mr Foster said, "Pakistani students have always been a huge part of our community – and we look forward to welcoming more to our world leading universities. Put simply, we want the best and brightest to study in the UK, which is why we have made it easier to apply."The UK will always value and welcome international students, and whether now or in the future, we want Pakistani students to choose the UK as the place to fulfil their potential."

Vast majority of visa applications by Pakistani students successful

The Home Office said that, last year, more than 5,000 students from Pakistan were granted UK student visa, a 20% increase on the previous year but still many fewer than the number granted to Indian and, particularly, Chinese students.Officials pointed out that 93% of visa applications by Pakistani students were successful "showing that the vast majority of UK student visa applicants are granted".The government is also undertaking to making the new Student Route even more streamlined and convenient for Pakistani students, with benefits including the ability to apply up to six months in advance, and the offer of additional opportunities to extend visas once a student had completed his or her initial course in the UK."In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK was among the first countries to introduce visa flexibility for students, including permitting remote study for the whole 2020-21 academic year and replacing thousands of expired visas free of charge so Pakistani students could still travel," said the government in a statement.

"Graduate Route" visa for post-study work in the UK for foreign students

"Furthermore, in summer 2021, the UK will be introducing the Graduate Route, a new post-study work visa that will allow eligible students two years (or three years for PHD students) to stay back after they graduate to work, or look for work in the UK."Mike Nithavrianakis, Britain's deputy high commissioner in Pakistan, said the increase in the number of Pakistani students being granted visas last year was a testament to the strengthening links between the UK and Pakistan."But, more than that," he added, "each successful visa means another student heading to the UK, to build their career, expand their horizons and find out more about all that the UK has to offer. We hope that this continues, and that many more students from Pakistan follow their compatriots on this journey."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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