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Immigration Rule changes to Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa and student applications from Botswana and Malaysia | Immigration Matters

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Part of the changes to the UK Immigration Rules on 1 October 2012 included small changes to Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced that the new rules will make it easier for suitably qualified applicants to apply under this route.

The Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa rule changes include:

  • An amendment to the definition of the purpose of the scheme, to explain that the “exceptional promise” aspect does not apply to the field of the arts.
  • Small amendments to the criteria used by The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering and The British Academy to assess applicants, following discussions with these designated competent bodies.
  • Widening the eligibility by allowing Tier 2 (General) migrants and sponsored researchers who are Tier 5 (Temporary worker) migrants to switch into the Exceptional Talent route while they are in the UK.
  • Changes to the unique reference number (URN) system.
  • Clarification of the evidence for extension applications.

The UKBA also confirmed that Botswana and Malaysia are now included on the list of ‘low-risk’ countries, which means that its citizens applying for a Tier 4 student visa will benefit from a streamlined UK visa application process.

The streamlined visa process means that eligible applicants will normally not have to provide documentary evidence of financial maintenance and education qualifications.

Student visa Applicants from Botswana and Malaysia will still have to meet the usual requirements and provide the appropriate documents where requested by an Entry Clearance Officer. A full list of documentary requirements for low-risk nationals and who qualifies can be found on the UKBA website.

Students from higher risk countries are not given such an easy ride. One college told Immigration Matters that their students are experiencing an 80% refusal rate on Tier 4 visa applications from 5 countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nigeria.

The main reason given for the student visa refusal was that the ECO was not satisfied with the level of English, despite one of the students holding an IELTS certificate with a band score of 6.5.

When Tier 4 of the points based system for immigration was introduced in 2009 the right of appeals against a student visa refusal was abolished. The government said there was no need for an appeal where the decision was made purely on the basis of a points score.

See also:

Postgraduate student policies damaging Britain

High Court grants London Met University temporary injunction against licence revocation giving overseas students a stay of execution

London Met student visa licence remains ‘revoked’ say UK Border Agency

UK overseas student market in danger of collapse after constant immigration crackdowns

UK University applicants drops 8.7% but non-EU students increase, UCAS figures reveal

New Tier 4 student visa rules now in force

Student visa crackdown damaging our reputation abroad, Universities UK warns


Important UK Border Agency update for Tier 4 sponsors – educational oversight and other changes

New Tier 4 sponsor guidance published for Highly Trusted Sponsorship – will your private college qualify?

Post Study Work Visa to be abolished April 2012 as part of student visa clampdown

UK university setting up a memorial scholarship in memory of murdered Indian student

Can family dependants of Tier 4 Students work while studying in the UK?

Free service launched to help overseas students study at UK Universities

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students and access to fully funded courses with NO UPFRONT FEES. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email:

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