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Dos and Don'ts for Indian students joining UK universities

In 2022 Indians were the highest beneficiaries of student visas to the UK overtaking China. The number of visas went up by 73 per cent from 2021.

Travelling from India to the UK on a travel VISA can be an extremely rewarding experience, not only for your studies and future career, but also as a learning life experience. It is important to throw yourself into the adventure and make the most out of the tools at your disposal, but you should also be careful to avoid the pitfalls of being an overseas student. Fortunately, we have designed an all-you-need-to-know list of the dos and don’ts for Indian students joining UK universities:

DOS

1. Register for a GP

Registering for a GP (general practitioner) is a must if you are spending an extended period of time in the United Kingdom. Being enrolled with the NHS allows you to book an appointment to see a doctor/nurse whenever you are ill, without any charge. This is because the UK VISA application includes an immigration health surcharge, which subsequently grants you access to free NHS services like hospital treatments, emergency services, GPs, treatments, and more. All you need to do is register online by inputting your postcode to find the nearest GP surgery – you will need your passport, birth certificate, accommodation registration and immigration/VISA documents for this process.

2. Register for a NINO Number

A NINO number is a national insurance number, and it is a must if you want to work part-time in the UK during your stay. Even if you do not work, all students must have a NINO number so HMRC can keep track of your National Insurance and tax contributions. If you do not have a NINO, you could have your study permit taken away. Your Biometric Residence Permit should contain a NINO number. Alternatively, you can apply for one online.

3.Open a Bank Account

Opening a bank account is a great idea at the very start of your studies. This will make it easier and cheaper to pay for things while you are out and about, using a VISA debit card. If you get a part-time job, it will also allow your employer to pay directly into your UK account.

4. Work

Your study VISA allows you to work 20 hours per week in term time if you are doing a full-time undergraduate degree or above. That becomes 10 hours if your degree level is below an undergraduate. Outside of term time, you are allowed to work full-time.

5. Embrace the culture

You’re in a new country! Have fun! It’s all about throwing yourself into British life and exploring new things. Try not to isolate yourself. Make friends and put yourself out there. Don’t worry, there are plenty of Indian food stores and restaurants, so you can ease yourself into British life and retain that familiar taste of home.

 

DON'TS

1. NEVER overstay on your VISA

It is illegal to stay beyond the length of your student VISA. If you choose to ignore your VISA date, you may be deported and banned from re-entering the UK for at least 12 months. Future immigration applications may also be turned down. You can always apply for an extension if you need one, but never overstay without permission.

2. Work full-time in term time

As we said above, you are not allowed to work full-time during term time on a study VISA. That is because you are supposed to be enrolled in full-time education, so that is where your primary focus should be.

3. Become self-employed

You cannot work as a self-employed person in the UK on a study visa. You can also not get a job as a paid or unpaid entertainer. The only work that is allowed is part-time work under 20/10 hours during term time, or full-time work during non-term time.

4. Do not drop out

If you are in the UK on a study VISA, you must study what you signed up to study. You are now allowed to drop out of your course and still remain in the UK.

5. International term-time travel

The UK study VISA says that you must keep up attendance to your classes during term time. Therefore, any international travel during term time can result in difficulties getting back into the country.

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