Students in UK Might Lose Opportunities to Study Abroad Under Turing Scheme, UK Unis Call for Visa Reform

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Dec 15, 2021

Students in United Kingdom

Students at universities in the United Kingdom can lose opportunities to study overseas while short-term exchange students might also be unable to study in the UK due to the UK’s current visa system, affecting the Turing Scheme, according to research by Universities UK (UUK).

In a media release, Universities UK (UUK) said that students staying for less than six months can use a standard visitor visa, whereas those whose stay takes longer need a student visa which has high costs and stricter requirements.

Hence, UUK urged the UK government to extend the time that short-term exchange students can stay in the UK on visitor visas from six months to one academic year, Erudera.com reports.

The research pointed out that universities are experiencing a notable shift among EU exchange students from year-long placements to shorter single-semester placements. It further said that non-EU students were less ready to come to the country for a longer period.

“Without inbound students, we risk losing opportunities for outbound visits. That’s why we want the government to make sure that the visa system works for incoming exchange students. We think this is really important if we want to make the Government’s newly launched Turing Scheme a success,” the Director of Universities UK International, Vivienne Stern said.

She also emphasized the importance of international students who come to the United Kingdom on the short-term exchange, saying that they add to the diversity of campuses, contribute to the economy through their spending and create opportunities for UK students.

“Exchange students open up places in other universities around the world for our students to spend time studying abroad,” Stern added.

Erasmus Student Network supported Universities UK in their call to reform the Visitor Immigration route for exchange students.

President of Erasmus Student Network UK Iona Murdoch said that the current 6-month period means that students coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds experience difficulties to go abroad for mobility and are not able to cover the costs of alternative visa types.

“Longer visas will allow students more time to settle in and will have more time to contribute, engage and volunteer for the local community to benefit themselves as well as society more directly,” Murdoch said.

The Turing Scheme is a UK government scheme that provides funding for international exchange in education and training worldwide.

The scheme, which will offer funding to more than 41,000 students to study and work abroad, has been created as a replacement for the Erasmus+ program, which the UK left after failing to reach the Brexit agreement with the European Union (EU).

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