Coronavirus (Covid-19): info for international students

Last modified: 03 July 2020

This is an evolving situation and UKCISA continues to work with the UK government and local public health authorities to distribute appropriate guidance to UK international students.

The Education and Universities Ministers of the four countries of the United Kingdom (UK) addressed a letter dated 22 June to international students who will be studying in the UK from autumn 2020. It covers a number of matters, including how you will be taught and supported in your academic and personal life, the introduction of the post-study work graduate route, and links to other useful sources of information.

The #WeAreTogether campaign involves students, academics and all staff from UK universities, students unions and pathway providers. It will highlight the full range of activity the education sector is engaged in to combat Covid-19, and bring all those involved in UK international education together in a positive online community, to share messages of solidarity, support and gratitude. The campaign is particularly aimed at providing reassurance and support for international students.

Questions we can answer

Last modified: 03 July 2020

In this section, we provide answers to some of the questions you are asking us. Please be aware that some education providers will have their own policies which might differ from our answers. We explain what the Home Office (UKVI) has published on its website, including contact details for its Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.

We also provide links to information on a range of education matters, including accommodation and travel, for students and education providers.

Find out the latest situation in a Times Higher Education International Student Seminar (27 May 2020) at which UKCISA's Chief Executive, Anne Marie Graham was one of the speakers.

See also information provided by:

Universities UK - section 5 of its Principles and considerations: emerging from lockdown focuses on international students and staff, though all sections will help you understand how the higher education sector is preparing for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year 

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (reviews complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales), including a briefing note for education providers

Office for Students (regulator of higher education in England), including guidance for education providers and a briefing note (published 21 May) on best practice in supporting international students

Scottish goverment, aimed specifically at international students 

Welsh government covering further and higher education, travel, accommodation and collecting belongings

NI Direct for information about all areas of life in Northern Ireland

National Union of Students (NUS), particularly its Safety Net campaign for a hardship fund for all students

We will try to keep this information as current as possible. Where we provide a link to the original source, please check it before contacting us, because it might have been updated.

Hear from other students and join in with positive campaign actions through the #WeAreTogether campaign.

Communicating with your education provider (updated 1 May)

What are UK universities and colleges offering this autumn? (updated 17 June)

Study, including distance learning, ATAS and starting a new course (updated 24 June)

English language tests (updated 1 June)

Leaving your course early, and returning to the UK

When Tier 4 sponsors will withdraw sponsorship

How periods of overstay will be regarded (updated 28 May)

Free extension if your immigration permission expires between 24 January and 31 July (updated 1 June)

Making an immigration application in the UK (updated 3 July)

Applying in the UK when this is not usually possible (updated 29 June)

Biometric residence permits (updated 7 May)

Police registration (updated 1 June)

Making an immigration application outside the UK (updated 30 June)

Immigration permission granted, but you cannot travel to the UK (updated 16 June)

Transition period and the EU settlement scheme (updated 24 June)

Travel and self-isolation on arrival in the UK (updated 3 July)

Free NHS treatment

Accommodation (updated 24 June)

Work (updated 17 June)

No recourse to public funds, financial hardship (updated 7 May)

Student finance and scholarships (updated 3 June)

Questions we cannot answer yet

Last modified: 30 June 2020

We have asked the Home Office (UKVI) for policies and information to deal with the questions below. Until we receive answers or amended guidance, we cannot provide more information on these topics on our website or on our advice line. As soon as we have clear answers, we will update this information.

The Home Office has assured us that no one will be penalised because of something outside their control. But if you have questions about any of these matters and need to hear from them directly, we recommend that you contact the Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre and explain your concerns in detail to them. 

Hear from other students and join in with positive campaign actions through the #WeAreTogether campaign.

Issuing a CAS for an online course (updated 18 June)

Doctorate extension scheme and Tier 2 applications (updated 30 June)

How absences will be treated in future settlement applications (updated 9 June)

The long-term consequences for the future

General support for international students

Last modified: 26 June 2020

The wellbeing of international students is our top priority at UKCISA and we are doing everything we can to ensure that you have the support you need during this unprecedented global pandemic.

Universities and colleges are working online but staff will continue to work to support you in your own institutions. We advise all students to check information and advice on your institution’s websites and to keep in touch with academic and support staff. Be sure to let your institution know if you are planning to leave the country.

All the latest advice from the UK government.

Latest health advice and information from National Health Service.

Latest health advice from Public Health Wales.

Latest health advice from Northern Ireland.

Latest health advice from Health Protection Scotland.

Looking after our mental health is more important now than ever and social distancing can be extremely difficult to cope with. There is lots of useful information about looking after your mental health during this pandemic on the Student Minds website. One of our #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors, Khoa Nguyễn, has offered tips for looking after your mental health in a lockdown situation via a blog found here

We understand that many students live in shared accommodation and this can be worrying if you or your housemates start to feel unwell. If you are living in student halls of residence and are worried about your own health or the health of students that you live with, contact staff at your accommodation to inform them that you are unwell, and use this link to guide you on to next steps.

The Department for Education (DfE) has produced guidance on self-isolation and social distancing for students living in university or college halls of residence.

The DfE has launched a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education.

Staff, parents and students can contact the helpline by telephone and email:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

The helpline is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

For support or clarification on any of the information given here, you can phone our student advice line on +4420 7788 9214 which is open Monday to Friday (except for public holidays) from 1.00pm to 4.00pm (UK time)

Before calling us, please check Questions we can answer and Questions we cannot answer yet

Statement from UKCISA

Last modified: 27 March 2020

Joint statement from UKCISA and Universities UK International: Covid-19 impact on international students

19 March 2020

Everyone at UKCISA and Universities UK International understands that it is a difficult time for many international students. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and advice from institutions, and from the governments in the UK and other countries is understandably being updated on a very frequent basis. Student and staff wellbeing is the top priority for ourselves and our university members and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that everyone has the support they need.

Please be reassured that we are working constantly with UK government departments, our members, and other sector organisations, taking every possible measure to ensure the university community is well-informed, supported and safe. The health of all students and staff is of the utmost importance to university leaders and operational and contingency planning to manage the outbreak is underway across our institutions. This is a constantly-evolving situation and universities are planning for all possible scenarios.

UK universities understand that a university ‘closure’, which can mean a variety of things, may cause anxiety for students who cannot return home. Universities understand that a student’s halls are usually their main home for much of the year and universities will support those students who cannot or do not want to go home. 

We are seeking specific advice from the government on self-isolation in shared accommodation. The focus for universities who have students in this situation would be to ensure every possible measure is being taken to support them during self-isolation, to ensure this is effective but also that their needs are met. 

For support or clarification on any of the information given here, you can phone our student advice line on +4420 7788 9214 which is open at the following times:

  • Monday to Friday (except for public holidays) from 1.00pm to 4.00pm (UK time)
  • Additional extended hours until the end of May 2020:
    Tuesday morning and Thursday morning from 10:00am to 12:00pm (UK time)

Before calling us, please check Questions we can answer and Questions we can not answer yet.

Update: 23 March

The UK government has now issued guidance on isolation for residential educational settings

It notes that 'It is important that institutions operate a ‘non-eviction’ policy if students have no alternative residence' and that this 'is particularly important for international students who may not be able to return home due to travel restrictions.'

 

Joint statement from Universities UK International, Universities UK and the UKCISA on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Chinese staff and students at UK universities

5 February 2020

The health, welfare and safety of students and staff is the top priority for university leaders following the Coronavirus outbreak. UK universities have been supporting all students and staff who might be concerned about their health with up-to-date advice from health services. Our universities have a strong history of welcoming Chinese students and staff to the UK and they are very much part of our international community. UK universities will not tolerate racism in any form, and we encourage students and staff to report any incident of racial harassment and seek support from their university.

We understand that students and staff may be worried about friends and family members in China and our thoughts go to all those affected by this situation. At this difficult time, we ask that students and staff support their fellow friends and colleagues in solidarity with the whole of the international higher education community.

For support or clarification on any of the information given here, you can phone our student advice line on +4420 7788 9214 which is open at the following times:

  • Monday to Friday (except for public holidays) from 1.00pm to 4.00pm (UK time)
  • Additional extended hours until the end of May 2020:
    Tuesday morning and Thursday morning from 10:00am to 12:00pm (UK time)

Before calling us, please check Questions we can answer and Questions we can not answer yet.

联合声明:英国大学联盟 (Universities UK) 和英国国际学生事务委员会 (UK Council for International Student Affairs) 针对新型冠状病毒疫情对中国学生影响的声明。 

在新型冠状病毒的疫情爆发后,保证学生和教职员工的健康、福利和安全是大学高层的当务之急。英国众高校已经并不断向所有关心担忧自己健康的学生,提供来自健康服务权威机构的最新建议。

英国大学一直秉承延续对中国留学生友好亲善的历史,中国学生是我们国际教育共同体的重要组成部分。英国大学不会接受容忍任何形式上的种族主义的歧视和偏见;我们支持并鼓励学生和教职员工,如遇到种族歧视和骚扰的相关事件,请及时向所在大学有关部门寻求帮助。

我们深知有些学生在此刻非常牵挂在中国的朋友和家人,我们会在精神上支持所有受到疫情影响的人。在这个困难的时刻,我们呼吁英国所有学生和教职员工共克时艰,声援和帮助受影响的朋友和同事。

如果学生需要更多支持和帮助,请联系所在大学的相关部门,或致电英国国际学生事务委员会的学生咨询热线+442077889214 (英国时间星期一至星期五下午1-4 点之间。请注意,我们的咨询热线只提供英文服务。)


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