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Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

International Trainee Teachers update (September 2021)

10 September 2021

  1. Guidance on studying in England during the COVID-19 pandemic

This article, posted on DfE’s blog earlier in the summer, covers key information for international students about COVID-19 measures and vaccines: I’m an international student, what do I need to know about studying in England during the pandemic? - The Education Hub (blog.gov.uk)

  1. Immigration Health Surcharge

The Immigration Health Surcharge is a healthcare surcharge that many visa applicants need to pay as part of their immigration application. More information is available about who needs to pay and how much it costs: Pay for UK healthcare as part of your immigration application - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Students who meet all of the following criteria may be entitled to a full or partial refund of their IHS payment:

  • they are a full-time student in UK higher education
  • their visa started on or after 1 January 2021
  • they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued in an EU country
  • they do not work in the UK

Those who meet this criteria will be able to apply for a refund from 1 January 2022. Their refund will be backdated to include any immigration health surcharge payments made for a visa starting on or after 1 January 2021.

Students who intend to apply for a refund should use their EU EHIC for medically necessary treatment during their studies. Once they have received their reimbursement, they may have to pay for any NHS healthcare they receive that is not deemed medically necessary.

Students who obtain an immigration health surcharge reimbursement should not work in the UK. Working in the UK is very likely to invalidate their EHIC and they will need to be prepared to pay for any NHS healthcare they receive. More information is available about the IHS reimbursement for students: Healthcare for EU citizens living in or moving to the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

  1. Late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme

As you are aware, the deadline for most people to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021. However, applications can still be made in some cases. There is more information on our guidance page for international trainee teachers: Train to teach in England: non-UK applicants - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). In addition, the Home Office announced last month that the government will protect the rights of late applicants until their application and any appeal is decided: Temporary protection for more applicants to the Settlement Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

  1. COVID-19 concessions relating to eligibility for the Graduate visa route

The Graduate visa route opened for applications earlier in the summer. It is available to international students who have completed a degree in the UK and who have been sponsored by a Home Office licensed Student sponsor. Those on the Graduate route can study, work or look for work in the UK for up to 2 years after completing their studies (3 years for PhD students), without a sponsor. This includes working as a teacher or training as a teacher on a salaried or unsalaried initial teacher training course, if the course does not meet the requirements for a Student visa. Concessions are in place for students who have been unable to travel to the UK due to COVID-19: applicants who began their studies in autumn 2020 or spring 2021 and are undertaking a course of 12 months or less have until 27 September 2021 to enter the UK with permission as a Student in order to be eligible to apply to the Graduate route. Further information about COVID-19 concessions for the Graduate route is available: Coronavirus (COVID-19): student sponsors, migrants and short-term students - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)