ISLAMABAD   -  The United Kingdom on Tuesday encouraged Pakistani students to apply for visas as the world marked International Students Day.

The UK minister responsible for visas and immigration has encouraged even more students from Pakistan to choose the UK as a place to study, said a British High Commission statement.

Kevin Foster, UK Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, used the annual celebration of international students to make clear the UK was open to students, highlighting visa flexibility around Covid-19, as well as the new Student Route, as reasons to continue choosing the UK for study.

Last year, over 5,000 students from Pakistan were granted UK student visa – a 20% increase on the previous year. In addition, 93% of Pakistani students were successful in receiving student visa – showing that the vast majority of UK student visa applicants are granted.

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In addition, the UK’s new Student Route promises to make it even more streamlined and convenient for Pakistani students, with benefits such as applying up to six months in advance, and additional opportunities to extend student visas from inside 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.

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.

Kevin Foster MP, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, 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.” 

Foster added: “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.”

British Deputy High Commissioner, Mike Nithavrianakis, said:  “Last year, over 5,000 Pakistani students were successfully granted visa – a 20% increase on the previous year. This is a testament to the strengthening links between the UK and Pakistan. But, more than that, 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.” 

The Student Route and Graduate Route are part of the UK’s new points-based system, the new system of visas and immigration that the UK is opening in January 2021. 

This will create a fairer, clearer system, where what matters is the skills an individual has rather than their nationality.