UK announces new flexibility for short-term study visas

The British government will extend additional flexibility for short-term studies under its post-Brexit immigration system.

After a period of extended lobbying by English UK and other stakeholder organizations, the UK Home Office has increased visa flexibility for those coming to the UK for six months or less. As of December 2020, the current short-term study visa (STSV) route will be closed as part of the UK’s transition out of the European Union and the introduction of a new points-based immigration system. Indeed, all new arrivals to the UK from 1 January 2021 onward will need a visa to visit, work, or study in the country.

With the winding up of the STSV route, however, the Home Office is introducing new flexibility in that all travellers, including students, may enter on the same type of visitor’s visa. This means in effect that anyone holding a visitor visa may now study for up to six months in the UK.

Some restrictions apply. English language courses, for example, must be undertaken with an accredited ELT centre, and further details will be forthcoming from the Home Office as the government continues to finalise the UK’s post-Brexit system. There is no question, however, that this is a welcome development for the country’s ELT sector as it works to recover from the impact of the pandemic the year.


“This is really positive news for our industry and follows extensive lobbying by English UK and other sector bodies,” said English UK Interim Chief Executive Jodie Gray. “The Home Office sees this as a concession to support the ELT industry at this challenging time while acknowledging that ELT students often behave like other tourists. We expect this to make the system much simpler for students who get a taste for taking more courses and for the member centres which teach them.”


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