“We recognise there is a global competition for talent, and prospective international students will surely look at how countries reacted to COVID-19 when deciding where to apply,” Jill Allen Murray, deputy executive director public policy at NAFSA

The future of several education destinations including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and the Netherlands relies heavily on their current crisis management and commitment to the causes of international students’ community.

Let us take a quick look at how the UK and its universities are bracing themselves to lead the race despite the unprecedented challenges they face due to COVID-19.


A Selection of Visa Application Centres in India have reopened from 6th July 2020

The UK government has provided concessions for students intending to begin their education in the UK in the 2020-21 academic year.

Students are given the liberty to pursue their education via distance learning and still be eligible for student visa provided they transition to face-to-face learning in the UK as soon as circumstances allow them to do the same.

Access the updated visa guidance here.


A series of stringent measures and restrictions are in place at the UK border which would allow safe passage of students into the country.

Coronavirus regulations mean that all students must self-isolate for 14 days if they arrive in the UK from a country outside the common travel area.

However, the students or any passengers coming from the list of exempt countries* will not be required to self-isolate on arrival into England unless they had visited or stopped in another country in the preceding 14 days. 

*To be reviewed every 3 weeks


The universities in line with timely advice from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) have implemented a number of COVID-19 support services for current and future international students.

Social distancing is strictly followed in the UK.

Students will be expected to wear face coverings as it is a legal requirement while using public transport in England and Scotland.

The UK’s health service department offers regular advice and keeps the locals updated with all recent developments and changes to social distancing measures as and when it happens.

You may get more information on the same here:


In-Person Teaching: Yes, offered by a lot of universities.

Blended Teaching: Yes.

Depending on the university and the student’s choice, one can opt to pursue education through distance learning or in-person in the UK.


 Graduate Route:

2-Years Visa for students graduating from a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

3-Years Visa for PhD graduates

This is applicable even to students who are starting their education via blended learning as long as they arrive in the UK before 6th April 2021.


UK universities are using charter flights for students

Queen’s University, Belfast & the University of Bolton have announced that it would fly international students into the UK.

Some universities in the south-west England and South Wales, and north-west England and the Midlands are also considering using charter flights to bring in international students.

Once they have landed here, the university will organise airport pick-up, onward travel by dedicated coaches and quarantine support.


Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has recently unveiled the UK’s new research & development roadmap to cement the UK as the world’s leading research and science superpower.

It has committed to increasing the UK investment in R&D to £22 billion per year by 2024 to 25.

What does it mean to international students?

  • Access to more public funds for research activities
  • Funding opportunities to start & scale up business in the UK
  • Flexible visa support to settle down in the UK: Global Talent Scheme & Innovation Fellowship Scheme

In a nutshell, COVID-19 or not, the education, research and business investment plans and opportunities for international students in the UK are aplenty.

Now is one of the best times to consider the UK as your study abroad destination!

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