Exclusive from UKCISA conference: Immigration Minister announces extension to Covid concession

01 July 2021

The Immigration Minister, Kevin Foster, this morning announced at the UKCISA conference that there will be an extension to the Covid concession that enables distance and blended learning. This concession will extend to cover the first two semesters of the 2021-2022 academic year, until 6 April 2022. This date is encouraged to be seen as a deadline, not a target, and will help avoid a surge in travel and the associated resources needed to comply with quarantining measures, and help manage the arrival of students. 

Following this morning's launch of the Graduate route, Home Office policy colleagues also confirmed, in tandem with this, that they intend to extend the Graduate route concession, allowing those arriving in the UK after commencing their studies to be eligible under the route. We await the guidance for further details on this concession.

This welcome news comes following extensive sector-wide lobbying by UKCISA, the Association of Colleges, BUILA, CBI, GuildHE, Independent HE, MillionPlus, Russell Group, University Alliance and Universities UK.

An extension to these concessions helps in protecting international students from being further disadvantaged due to circumstances outside their control and allows a greater element of flexibility to start and continue their studies safely. 

UKCISA's Chief Executive, Anne Marie Graham, comments,

'We welcome the news that the UK Government will extend the current time-limited concessions to support those students who are planning study in the 2021-22 academic year. This provides important reassurance to international students, and enables UKCISA and our members to provide clear and timely advice and guidance to international students at this important stage of the student application cycle. UKCISA and its colleagues across the sector have advocated for this flexible approach, which demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that international students are not disadvantaged due to circumstances beyond their control'.

We await publication of the official guidance on these points.