The UK Border Agency has published the latest set of changes to the Immigration Rules, affecting Tier 4 students, which were laid in Parliament this week.
The new restrictions, which will mainly hit private colleges, will come into effect on 4 July 2011.
The Home Secretary announced changes to the Immigration Rules in a statement to Parliament on 22 March, which follow the first set of changes on 21 April.
The border agency (UKBA) said that the ‘aim of the revised Immigration Rules is to deliver a strong migration system which tackles immigration abuse, while allowing genuine students to study at genuine colleges’.
From 4 July the UK Border Agency will:
- restrict work entitlements to migrants studying at higher educational institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded further education colleges only;
- restrict the sponsorship of dependants to those studying at postgraduate level at HEIs on courses lasting at least 12 months, and government-sponsored students on courses lasting at least 6 months;
- require education providers to vouch that a new course represents genuine academic progression;
- ensure that maintenance funds are genuinely available to the applicant, by introducing a declaration on the visa application form;
- commit to publish a list of financial institutions that we consider, on the basis of experience, do not verify financial statements to our satisfaction in more than 50 per cent of a sample of cases;
- introduce a streamlined application process for low-risk nationals applying to attend courses with Highly Trusted Sponsors;
- extend the list of courses for which students must receive ATAS clearance;
- restrict the ability to deliver accountancy courses accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to those sponsors accorded platinum or gold status by ACCA; and
- clarify the position of overseas universities with campuses in the UK.
A revised version of our policy guidance document for Tier 4 migrants, and a statement of intent summarising the new student visa policy, can also be downloaded from UKBA website. You can find the revised guidance for Tier 4 sponsors in the Sponsor guidance section of the UKBA website.
The UKBA also announced that the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) will extend their activities to cover privately funded providers, in line with their commitment that all privately funded sponsors would be inspected or reviewed by one of the publicly recognised bodies by the end of 2012. Source: UK Border Agency.
The changes will be seen as a major blow for private colleges, already competing against government owned providers at a disadvantage.
According to Home Office figures published by the BBC yesterday the student visa changes could cost the UK economy £2.4bn.
The changes will not affect Bulgarian and Romanian students who wish to come to the UK to study and work on a Yellow Card.
If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
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