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Changes to Tier 4 Student Visas as of July 2015

As of the 13th of July 2015 the U.K government announced new changes to Tier 4 Visas. The Tier 4 visa category is often referred to as a student visa. In this blogpost we will guide you through a summary of the changes, what they mean on a practical level and offer some key insights into the changes.

What is the idea behind the changes?

The changes are set to only target non EU-students who accounted for roughly 121,000 immigrants last year with only 51,000 of these non-EU students leaving the country after they finished their course. According to the Home Office the fundamental idea is to stop immigrants from entering the UK on a certain visa (student Tier 4 Visa) and using this as a backdoor to working in the U.K. Additionally, it will limit the ability of bogus univiersites and colleges to attract immigrants who would seek to work in the United Kingdom rather than use their Student Tier 4 visa for the intended purpose of study. However,  critics argue that these changes would starve the U.K of the best and brightest foreign students who would be legible to work once their course has ended. Many students choose to work after their period of study and end up settling in the U.K.

What are the changes to Tier 4 visas?

According to the official government website the changes are as follows:

The main changes will:

  • stop new students at publicly funded colleges from working, bringing them in line with those at private colleges (from August)
  • allow university students to study a new course at the same level but only where there’s a link to their previous course or the university confirms that this supports their career aspirations. There will be credibility interviews and sanctions against universities who abuse this rule (from August)
  • ban college students from extending their Tier 4 visas in the UK unless they are studying at an ‘embedded college’, one which has a formal, direct link to a university that is recognised by the Home Office. This will require them to leave and apply for a new visa from outside the UK if they wish to study another course (from November)
  • ban college students from being able to switch visas to Tiers 2 or 5 in the UK, and require them to apply from outside the UK (from November)
  • reduce the time limit for study at further education level from 3 years to 2 years. This brings the maximum period into line with the length of time British students generally spend in further education (from November)
  • stop Tier 4 dependants from taking a low or unskilled job, but allow them to take part-time or full-time skilled work (from the autumn) SOURCE

What does this mean for future students?

Quite frankly, students will have to be careful about their working status and may need to seek detailed legal advice in order to plan out their immigration goals for the upcoming years. Students will have to decide if they want to settle in the U.K and start to make provisions for this as their student visa expires.

With over 16 years experience in UK bound immigration Westkin Associates can advise you on how these new changes may effect you, contact us today on 0207 118 8005 or via info@westkin.com

 Your views:

What do you think of these changes?

Are you less or more likely to choose they U.K as a place to study and live?

Do these changes go to far?

Let us know below!

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
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