What you should know before you go
Each autumn, tens of thousands of students from around the world go to the UK for higher studies. August and September are two of the busiest months for UK visa application centres around the world. In Sri Lanka, approximately 6,000 applicants a year apply for student visas to the UK, to pursue Bachelors, Masters, PhD or professional courses. Many Sri Lankan students perform very well at UK universities and the UK is pleased to welcome them. The UK offers endless opportunities for intellectual and cultural enrichment and most students have a fantastic experience.
However, as with any other country, there are regulations around student visas. Students can only work a certain number of hours; they have to attend the classes pertaining to their courses of study; and they have to return to their own countries after they have completed their studies unless they have further permission to stay in the UK. Overstaying one’s visa is illegal and a punishable offence in the UK. The UK government is making it more difficult for people to live and work in the UK illegally. Every single day, UK Home Office teams are arresting, detaining and removing people with no right to be in the UK. Once returned to their own country, enforced returnees are barred from applying for a UK visa for the next ten years, no matter what the situation.
So if you are going to the UK as a student – good luck with your studies and enjoy the experience to the fullest! But stick to the rules to ensure that you are able to visit the UK on work, holiday or business in the future.