Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster, has advised Nigerian students to choose the UK as a place to study.

Foster made the call ahead of the commemoration of the International Students Day on November 17.

The Senior Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission, Abuja, Christopher Ogunmodede, in a statement made available to Daily Sun, said Foster used the annual celebration of international students day to make clear that the UK is open to students, highlighting visa flexibility around COVID-19, as well as the new student route as reasons to continue choosing the UK for study.

“Last year, over 9,000 students from Nigeria were granted a UK student visa – a 27 percent increase on the previous year. In addition, 93 percent of Nigerian students were successful in receiving a student visa – showing that the vast majority of UK student visa applicants are granted.

“The UK’s new Student Route promises to make it even more streamlined and convenient for Nigerian students, with benefits such as applying up to six months in advance, and additional opportunities to extend student visas from inside the UK. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK was among the first countries to introduce visa flexibility for students, including permitting remote study for the whole 2020-21 academic year and replacing thousands of expired visas free of charge so Nigerian students could still travel.

“Furthermore, in Summer 2021, the UK will be introducing the Graduate Route, a new post-study work visa that will allow eligible students two years (or three years for PHD students) to stay back after they graduate to work, or look for work in the UK,” the British High Commission said.

The Student Route and Graduate Route, according to the High Commission, are part of the UK’s new points-based system, the new system of visas and immigration that the UK is opening in January 2021.

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“This will create a fairer, clearer system, where what matters is the skills an individual has rather than their nationality,” the British High Commission added.

Foster further said the UK looked forward to receiving more Nigerian students to its world leading universities.

“Nigerian students have always been a huge part of our community – and we look forward to welcoming more to our world leading Universities. Put simply, we want the best and brightest to study in the UK, which is why we have made it easier to apply.

“The UK will always value and welcome international students, and whether now or in the future, we want Nigerian students to choose the UK as the place to fulfil their potential,” Foster said.

On her part, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said: “Last year, over 9,000 Nigerian students were successfully granted a visa – a 27 percent increase on the previous year. This is a testament to the strengthening links between the UK and Nigeria.

“But more than that, each successful visa means another student heading to the UK, to build their career, expand their horizons and find out more about all that the UK has to offer. We hope that this continues, and that many more students from Nigeria follow their fellow citizens on this journey.”