UK has always been the IT destination for aspiring students. With world class infrastructure, facilities and a lifestyle to die for, the UK has often been described as the student hub of the world.
The number of highly ranked Universities and jobs are additional bonuses.
Until a few years ago, going to study to the UK almost literally translated into the eventual settlement of that person in the UK.
How many of us have uncles and cousins who left to study and never came back?
Well, with the rise in immigration, the laws in the UK seemed to have toughened up and are not so welcoming after all.
The infamous exit of Britain form the EU has only added to the trouble.
So do these rules, laws and Britain's exit from the EU affect you, an aspiring student?
Yess !!!! They do, and to a very large extent.
Gone are the good old days when going to study in the UK was almost as easy as packing your bags ( if, of course, you were rich and had the funds to do so, or were an exceptional student which was awarded a scholarship) and here we are, in an era of mistrust and change.
The latest changes in the UK immigration laws (especially since 2012) have made life not only difficult, but borderline miserable for international students.
As a measure to control fake visas and unwanted immigration, UK has given its Universities the instructions to first of all rely less on immigrant students and boost the local student strength.
Translation: Admission and seats are much less in number than before for international students, and since you are competing with a large number of students, well, good luck!
Probably one of the most significant and important changes we have seen in the last few years was doing away with the Post study Visa for students which before, gave students enough time to find a suitable job and change their visa into a job visa (Tier 2 Visa). With this change, students are most likely to sent packing back home almost as soon as their study course is over.
Also, the salary to get a Tier 2 Visa has also been revised and increased, which means that you may only be able to get a work permit if you have been offered a job with a high salary.
According to new laws, students cannot change their Visa status while in the UK itself. Which means that as a student (Tier 4 Visa) , you will have to return to your home country(or other, it just cannot be from the UK itself) and then re-apply for a Tier 2 Visa (provided you have found a job).
Another unfavorable factor is the high fees, which seems to have increased double fold in the last few years. At present, an international student pays almost FOUR TIMES the fees of a local student, which is subject to change without any prior notice. In other words, in can be increased any time, leaving you in a probable state of shock.
This also means that the funds you ought to show before getting your admissions now also have to be much higher than before, extending to more than 9 months or the end of your course, whichever may be shorter.
Add to all this the increasing unemployment in the UK, feeling of hostility towards immigrants and an general atmosphere of suspicion, the situation in the UK is not very welcoming.
However unsettling this may sound, we can assure that studying in the UK is also worth the effort. If you go there with the intention on studying only, you shall definitely not be disappointed.
The quality of education, life and the experience are totally worth it !
But be realistic and do no go there with the intention of settling down, and you must make your decision keeping all these factors in mind.
Good luck and happy surfing!