The UK Home office confirmed that, even if international students begin/continue their studies online in the 2020/21 academic year, their right for post-study work shall sustain, as long as these international students are in the UK by the 6th of April and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.
In September 2019, the UK had announced the Graduate Route plan in order to adjust its immigration system as it formally left the European Union. However, due to the complications that have arisen because of COVID-19, graduate/undergraduate students are required to either continue their course or start a new course via distance or blended learning. The guidance issued by the UK Home Office states with the prevailing situation, international students will be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis, even if they spent some time studying outside the country.
Gary Davies, PVC for student recruitment and business development at London Metropolitan University, called for further guidance from UK Visas Immigrations to extend the window for visa applications to six months from three, to give international students the confidence of possessing a valid visa when they travel to the UK.
The former UK universities minister Jo Johnson also called for the government to extend the duration of the UK post-study work visa from the current two years to four years so as to help the sector overcome the setback of Covid-19 as well as Brexit. The post-study work visa plays a vital role in retaining international students as the UK has evidently lost market share since work rights were withdrawn several years ago.