NEW DELHI: United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has introduced flexibility in visa rules, with health precautions throughout the visa system, to ensure a safe environment for all applicants, especially incoming international students. VFS Global on Thursday said it has established standardised protective measures to be followed across all its UK Visa Application Centres.
To ensure health and safety norms are followed, the centres have implemented a mandatory online appointment system, besides checking body temperature of all customers at the entrance, and maintaining physical distancing measures.
Additionally, staff also carry out preventive measures such as disinfecting high-contact surfaces, body temperature screenings, use of hand sanitisers, regular hand washing, etc.
Since July 6, UK Visa Application Centres have re-opened in 11 cities in India in a phased manner. They are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru (Global Tech Park only), Chandigarh, Chennai, Jalandhar, Kochi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai (Mahalaxmi only), New Delhi (Shivaji Metro Stadium only) and Pune. These centres are receiving Tier 4 applications. All of the above locations are operational subject to local lockdown regulations, the VFS said in a statement.
To limit disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, UKVI is allowing incoming international students to apply for study (Tier 4) visa when they are due to travel to the UK, rather than at the start of their course.
This means students who have already gained admission can begin their courses online and apply for a UK study visa when they are ready to do so.
The new Graduate Immigration Route that allows students who complete undergraduate or Master's degrees to stay and work, look for work, and gain experience in the UK for up to two years (three years for PhD students) from Summer 2021, has been modified to accommodate students who start their courses overseas, online. (IANS)