Impact of COVID-19, Brexit on studying or working in the UK

Completion of Brexit, new student route in October 2020, and skilled worker route from December 2020 along with the current pandemic situation is bound to impact those going to UK on student/work visa

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)


For many Indians, the UK has been the among the most popular destinations for higher education and settling abroad.

However, the recent completion of Brexit, a new student route in October 2020, and skilled worker route from December 2020 along with the current pandemic situation is bound to impact those coming to the UK on student/work visa, says Dattatraya Kadikar, Immigration expert and Founder of HSMP Services UK.

Kadikar further writes:

The new post-Brexit Immigration Rules state that The Graduate Route will allow two years unsponsored stay in the UK after completing a bachelor's or master's degree, and three years after completing a PhD.

Whereas the work visa route, which replaced Tier-2 General Visa, will offer opportunities to IT, Healthcare, Legal and R&D professionals from India.

With the introduction of Brexit alone, students from India are supposed to have better opportunities for studies and work visa. However, the Brexit and pandemic collectively have had a huge impact on UK businesses and industry. It appears that the demand for talent has changed in the past couple of years. New entrants in the UK must ensure that their skills and experience are in demand in the UK in this post-Brexit, post-pandemic period.

Many old job roles in the UK may become redundant post-pandemic and there may be a need for skills upgradation or adaptation as per the demand.

The UK has been a global hub for the finance and R&D industry. With changes in the UK immigration policies, UK is also attracting innovative start-ups to come and set up their businesses in the UK.

In spite of this, healthcare professionals, IT professionals and teaching experts will be in demand in the UK, which would mean better opportunities for migrants from India. With the huge demand for teachers and education support jobs, teachers from India will need to obtain special certification to be eligible to work in the UK.

The UK Government has announced a special Health and Care visa for medical doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who are in great demand in the UK due to pandemic. People applying under Health and Care visa will not be required to pay Immigration Health Surcharge, which is �624 per person per year.

UK also has announced new Start-up visa and Innovator visa to complement the existing Global Talent Visa.

A new Highly Skilled visa has been announced in the Budget Speech which will be launched from 2022 for which the details will be disclosed in the next few months.

UK and India have recently signed a migration deal -- 'The Migration and Mobility Partnership' -- on May 4 to boost work visas for Indian nationals under an ambitious new immigration partnership.

This unique agreement will allow up to 3,000 young professionals from India to come to the UK, every year, for two years to work, study, travel and experience the UK's culture and lifestyle.

Those who come to the UK under this new scheme will be able to switch to Skilled Worker Visa or other permissible visa categories which lead to Permanent Residency and British Citizenship.

This will be a major boost for those who wish to migrate to the UK without job sponsorship.

It should be noted that the stay in the UK under Student and Graduate routes does not count towards the permanent residency in the UK, for which the qualifying period in most categories is 5 years. Other visa categories mentioned above lead to Permanent Residency or Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years and British Citizenship after one more year.

The UK has taken vaccination drive seriously, as a result, the country and economy are slowly opening up. There are a lot of opportunities that lie ahead for Indian students and skilled workers.

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