More changes to student visas announced

On 4 July 2011 the next set of changes to Tier 4 of the points based system, used by students, will come into effect.

These changes - as announced on the UKBA website -  are the second set to come into force and show that the UKBA will continue to watch and revise the rules as required to tighten up the student visa system.

The changes

Taking effect from 4 July the UKBA will:

  • only allow students at higher educational institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded further education colleges to work
  • only allow students on postgraduate level courses lasting over 12 months at HEIs and government-sponsored students on courses lasting over six months to sponsor dependents
  • require education providers to vouch that a new course represents genuine academic progression
  • require applicants to declare that maintenance funds are genuinely available on their visa application form
  • commit to publish a list of ‘untrusted’ financial institutions that do not verify financial statements to a high enough standard
  • introduce a streamlined application processes for low-risk nationals applying to attend courses with Highly Trusted Sponsors
  • extend the list of courses for which students must receive Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance. You can find more information about the ATAS scheme on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website
  • only allow students to apply for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) accredited accountancy courses. The school must also have been awarded platinum or gold status by ACCA
  • ‘clarify the position of overseas universities with campuses in the UK’

As part of these changes the UKBA have published updated versions of their related documents including Immigration Minister Damian Green’s Written ministerial statement (PDF, 53KB) on the changes to the Immigration Rules.

Student visas: statement of intent and transitional measures (PDF, 151KB) provides information about past, current and future changes as well as the intended purposes of such changes.

Tier 4 of the Points Based System - Policy Guidance (PDF, 740KB) provides policy guidance on various specific points such as application requirements.

Related changes

The UKBA also announced at the same time a few smaller changes. These are:

  • a new provision for other family members of refugees and beneficiaries of humanitarian protection
  • a minor correction to the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) provisions and clarification of a requirement of the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Tier 1 (Investor) Rules
  • a small number of minor corrections and technical changes to the Rules relating to English language requirements for partners and spouses

The changes to the Immigration Rules were announced on 22 March by Immigration Minister, Damian Green, following a public consultation. The first set of changes were brought into effect on 21 April and introduced new language requirements, shorter lengths of stay and reduced rights relating to dependents and rights to work.

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