Twenty three universities join student visa pilot

Home Office to extend scheme which streamlines process for international Masters students wanting to study in the UK.

A pilot which is looking at streamlining the process for international Masters students wanting to study in the UK has been extended to an additional 23 universities, the Immigration Minister announced today.

Currently in its 2nd 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 6 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 additional 23 universities to benefit from the pilot include 2 in Scotland, 2 in Wales and 1 in Northern Ireland as well as universities from across England.

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 2nd most popular destination for international students and the number coming to study at our universities has increased by 24% 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 8% over the past year, and there has been a 9% 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.

The 23 universities to be added to the pilot are:

  • Cardiff University
  • Goldsmiths University of London
  • Harper Adams University
  • Newcastle University
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  • University of Bristol
  • Durham University
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Essex
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Reading
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Wales Trinity St. David (Swansea Campus)
  • University of Warwick
  • University of York