University of Sheffield joins student visa pilot

#WeAreInternational parade

A pilot which is looking at streamlining the process for international masters students wanting to study in the UK has been extended by a further 23 universities including the University of Sheffield, the Immigration Minister announced today (Monday 18 December).

Currently in its second 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 six 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 two in Scotland, two in Wales, one in Northern Ireland and other universities from across England.

I hope that the experience of extending the pilot will give the UK the assurance it needs to further extend the pilot into mainstream policy for the good of the many talented students from around the world who wish to study in the UK.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett

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 second most popular destination for international students and the number coming to study at our universities has increased by 24 per cent 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.”

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield and founder of the UK-wide #WeAreInternational campaign said: “International students are crucial not only to UK scholarship and teaching, but they play a huge role in the life and economy of towns and cities right across the UK. The extension of the Tier 4 Visa Pilot is therefore very welcome for all those universities and students who will benefit from it. I also hope that the experience of extending the pilot will give the UK the assurance it needs to further extend the pilot into mainstream policy for the good of the many talented students from around the world who wish to study in the UK.

"We do however know that more needs to be done. The #WeAreInternational campaign will continue to work with universities up and down the country, as well as businesses and the National Union of Students, to make sure the value of international students is fully reflected in all aspects of government policy and that we can increase opportunities for talented international graduates to remain in the UK for a period of work experience once they complete their studies. This will bring us in line with the experience in many other countries and the needs of our own economy."

The most recent Home Office statistics show that the number of students applying for visas increased by 8 per cent 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.

Please note, the scheme is only open to those students who will be beginning their studies at the University of Sheffield in September 2018.

Additional Information

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, The University of Wales Trinity St. David (Swansea Campus), University of Warwick, University of York.

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Mark Dorey
Head of External Communications
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 5338