On 13 July 15 the government issued a new statement announcing a number of proposed changes to the existing rules in relation to Tier 4 of the Points based system which relate to foreign national students. No specific date has been given for when these changes to student visas will take place with the statement indicating that most of the proposed changes are due to take effect in ‘the autumn’.
The proposals include preventing new students at publicly funded colleges from being able to work in the UK and preventing ‘college students’ from switching to a work visa or extending their student visa whilst they are in the UK.
The rules around academic progression are being tightened so that university students are only permitted to extend their studies at the same academic level if the course they wish to study is linked to their previous course, or the university confirms the course supports the student’s career aspirations. The time limit on further education study will be reduced from three years to two years in ‘the autumn’.
The maintenance requirement for Tier 4 students looks set to increase, along with the maximum amount paid for accommodation which can be offset against the maintenance requirement. The rule around established presence which allowed students applying to extend their leave within the UK to show only two months’ maintenance is being removed.
The application of the rules on time limits is being ‘clarified’ so that the time a student has already spent studying in the UK is calculated using the full length of the leave they have previously been granted.
Conditions of study are being changed, to prevent those in Tier 4 from studying at academies or schools maintained by a local authority. Those who wish to study a foundation course to prepare for entry to higher education are also being prevented from doing so under the Tier 4 (Child) route.
Where responsibilities of sponsor organisations and terminology have recently changed, the rules are being updated.
If you are a student and want further advice on how these changes could impact on you please contact our specialist immigration team.
Bryony Rest is Head of our Immigration team