In July 2016, the Home Office, the UK government department responsible for immigration, selected just four British universities - Bath, Cambridge, Imperial and Oxford - to take part in a scheme that will streamline certain aspects of the Tier 4 student visa process.

The pilot applies to all students applying for a visa to study master's courses lasting up to 13 months and starting in 2016 or 2017.

There are two important benefits for students:

  • while students are still required to meet the Tier 4 Immigration Rules, the need to supply certain supporting documents with the Tier 4 visa application has been removed, making the process more streamlined
  • students will be granted six months' leave, rather than the usual four months, to remain in the UK after completing their studies

Students are already reporting to us that they find the benefits of the pilot valuable, especially the additional time they may spend in the UK after completing their course. The visa is typically valid until April of the following year, which provides more time to switch to a work visa or even to explore more of the UK. Our excellent Careers Service provides a further resource to students throughout this period.

The Home Office selected this small group of universities based upon its high regard for our effectiveness in supporting students get their Tier 4 visa. One of the stated intentions of the pilot is to enable the UK to attract the "brightest and best" talent, and the University of Bath has the same intention.