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Points Based Tier 4 for students to be phased in next year | Immigration Matters

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The UK Border Agency has announced that Tier 4, for students, due to start next March, will now be phased in with full implementation taking place in August 2009.

Students who wish to apply under the existing student visa system must act now, or prepare to meet the new criteria.

At a meeting hosted by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in London last week, further details of Tier 4 of the Points Based System were revealed to an audience of Educational providers. The main details are:

  • Tier 4 will commence at the end of March 2009
  • Educational providers recruiting students from outside the EU will need to register as sponsors with the UKBA
  • Sponsoring organisations will take on far greater responsibilities for policing the system
  • Sponsoring colleges will continue with paper based offer letters until electronic versions, ‘Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies’ (CAS), are introduced in the Autumn of 2009 for in country students
  • Full Sponsorship Management System (SMS) expected to be operational by February 2010, at which time all students will require a CAS from a sponsoring institution
  • Visas will be tied to a specific educational provider
  • Students applying to come to the UK will need to score at least 40 points under the new on-line system
  • 30 Points will be awarded for a confirmed place or CAS form a sponsoring educational provider
  • 10 points will be awarded for Maintenance and Funds Test and specific amounts of funds of around £9600 will need to be shown
  • Appeal rights abolished and replaced with an ‘Administrative Review’
  • No visas for courses below NVQ3

General students on courses lasting more than 12 months will be expected to show they have sufficient funds to pay for the first year of fees plus £9600 living allowance (British Council figure), plus a further £535 per month for each dependant. A slightly lower figure will be accepted for students living outside the London area.

Student taking vocational courses will have to match the ‘on the job’ training with classroom studies. Colleges will be forced to monitor the hours spent on work placement, although quite how this will be achieved in practice was not fully explained during the Q & A session.

In a recent BBC report, academics have petitioned Downing Street, “urging the government to withdraw new immigration rules for overseas students in the UK”.

Over 4500 signatures have been collected, organised by Ian Grigg-Spall, academic chair of the National Critical Lawyers Group and honorary fellow at Kent Law School.

Mr Grigg-Spall told the BBC that there had to be trust between teacher and student.

“Now if they think that we’re wearing two hats – teacher, but also a hat labelled ‘immigration officer’ – I think that’s a complete contradiction,” he said.

“That’s why I say it’s a breach of our university autonomy and why in fact it’s a breach of academic freedom.

“This is a slippery slope, this is a dangerous slope and as a human rights lawyer, I am very worried.”

Candidates will still have to obtain entry clearance or a visa from British Embassy post.

Under the current system, entry clearance refusals can be challenged on appeal and the case heard before an independent Immigration Judge at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT).

Under Tier 4 students will no longer have a right of appeal against an entry clearance refusal. The right of appeal is being replaced by an ‘administrative review’ by an Entry Clearance Manager.

The UKBA argue that because decisions under Tier 4 will be more transparent and clear cut and based only on factual information, there is no need for an appeal system. Entry Clearance Officers (ECO’s) will not, for instance, be able to refuse on ‘intention’ to study or return home after completion of the course.

Should this prove to be the case, students applying for a visa under Tier 4 could be more assured of a visa than under the current ‘hit and miss’ system.

But there will be disadvantages under the points system. For instance, visa holders will be tied to one institution and changing would require anew visa. Maintenance rules will also be tighter and those in vocational courses, such as NVQ’s, will be subject to stricter conditions and controls.

When you weigh up the pro’s and con’s of both systems, most students will feel they have a better chance of success if they apply now than they would under Tier 4.

There are also advantages for those holding the current student visa, as opposed to one issued after March 2009.

Conclusion – get moving if you want to beat the Tier 4 deadline

If prospective students want to ‘beat the points system’ they must act now. Only students applying for visas for courses starting before the end of March will be able to apply under the current system.

In other words, you need to get your applications in by January/February to obtain the visa (you must allow at least a month for the Embassy to process an application), which means you really need to start enrolling and completing the VAF and requirements this month or by early January at the latest.

VFS, which processes visa applications on behalf of the British Embassy in Manila, report that they are “inundated” with student visa applications at the moment and delays in processing are expected.

Those who can apply now will also have the advantage of a full right of appeal, where their case can be heard before an independent judge rather than an Entry Clearance Manager carrying out an Administrative Review.

Life will go on after Tier 4, but we do not know exactly how things will pan out after March. Students are worth £5 billion to the economy according to the Home Office.

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19 Responses to “Points Based Tier 4 for students to be phased in next year”
Read them below or add one

  1. H. Soopal says :

    Hi,
    I am from mauritius. I am actually in uk to support my wife who is a student in Healthcare in a visiting visa.I am getting bored without doing nothing, so I would like to follow a course in Health Care at your college. I am nearly 59 years old and I am a Police officer in my country. Actually i am on leave without pay.
    Your advice will be most welcome before I renew my visiting visa , please.

  2. hi mr. kelly..

    i am holding a student visa here in uk since oct. 2009.. i am planning to get my dependants this march 2010. im just confused because they say that under the new rule, dependants are not allowed to work anymore… however i thought that their visa will be linked to my visa for they are my dependants. so, will they be affected under the new rule considering my visa is not under the new rule?

  3. jagdish says :

    i started my postgraduate diploma in nursing management in nov 2008. can i apply 4 PSW under old rules or not.
    thanks

  4. Jemima says :

    If the immigration or home office can allow mothers to invite their children even just for a short holiday whilst waiting for their visas it will be wonderful, I am crying everyday because i am just like someone in prison.

    Please help us, on what step to take in this situation where the college is closed and while awaiting for our visas, waiting too long is the delay to our continuing with our courses coz if i get my visa back I will find another college, continue my course then done and go home, please advice where to go, or what to do.

  5. Jemima Kambwali says :

    I have applied for my visa to be extended and just after few weeks the Home office closed the college, I am now tied and dont know wat to do, my family is about to stop sending me money from Africa, what can I do i really want to get my degree and go back home what advice can u give me, not every body really want to stay here, I cant travel home and i cant invite my family to come and see me, i am a mother please help I am home sick.

    Or if I can just get my little child i can wait for the visa even for 20yrs this situation is beyond my control, please advice which office to go and get help I miss my children and dont want to go home without my degree.

  6. hi, ur agency had been brought upon by a friend who i met wen i had a holiday. he’s so positive that you could help me out. im presently hir @ UK handling a student visa. unfortunately,my employer is not sponsoring people who’s looking for a workng permit..ive been working for them for about a year and half and now felt that im being abuse as im doing jobs w/c s a part of a senior. they said i cant be promoted as i am handling a student visa and few months ago, there’d been a problem about the managers. so i actually dont know what to do..is there any help that u could suggest w/c i can do? my visa is to expire next yr(august). i dont want to get tied on that tier 4 if evr i will renew.. im a BSN graduate by the way.. please, please i badly need help..do make a reply on my email please?

  7. hi, please can you find me a private registerd college that run health and social care courses at manchester, uk thanks

  8. Its very hard for philipino to go to UK becouse if they go they will never be back

  9. Hay Mr.Charles Kelly
    I was Applying my visa in UAE My Nationaly Is Filippino
    Trying to take a Student Visa But Iam Confuse do i need to take English Lauguage test before I take my university. Iam trying to take an NVQ course pls. help me thanks

  10. You need to find a Tier 2 sponsoring employer will to employ you.

  11. hi!, im a student visa here in the uk from philippines..
    my question are can i apply a permanent job as a carer after my NVQ IN SOCIAL HEALTH CARE?? and how? which agency should i go incase i can apply for a job? i need your advice really becoz my visa valid until october next year and i want to know in advance what to do..

    THANK YOU!!!!!! AND GOD BLESS!!!

  12. Gotlucky to have my application approved before the new system,having student visa doing my NVQ now here in UK, I want to know since a note MULTIPLE entry have been stated in my visa,,i can go home for holidays in my own country without limits on how often as long as i have a letter of permission to leave and return in a certain date from my training center?Thanks,PLEASE replyon my email ,Godbless

  13. Hi Mr. Kelly! I have attended some seminars regarding study-work program in UK. I am interested in this program, but i wanted to be sure that these agencies/companies is legal and truly an affiliate of Majectic College or any school in UK. Please advise me how to determine if the company is legal. Or do u know any companies that you can recommend to me that don’t cost much in processing our papers.
    I hope to hear from you soon sir, you may reply reply in my email. Thank you very much!

  14. Hi mr. Kelly… You can send your advice/response to my email address for its easy access.. thank you.. Godbless!

  15. Hi.. I was oriented in one company/org (here in MAkati,Philippines) regarding studying at UK.. During the orientation, they told me that MAJESTIC COLLEGE will be my sponsor.. I got interested with this program after the orientation.. I would like to start my processing., however., i still wanted to confirm if the company is really connected to Majestic College.. Because my auntie had an experience of applying a student visa., she paid the down payment however, a month after, she could no longer find the company here..

    Can you give me a site wherein I can find trusted companies (in Philippines; which are really connected to Majestic College) that can help me study abroad(UK)?

  16. Great. That’s what we are here for.
    http://www.immigrationmatters.co.uk

  17. Nirmal says :

    thanks i learn many thinks here about Tier 4

  18. Majestic College (NVQ Health and Social Carer specialists) is on the UK Border Agency Sponsors Register and is apporved to take international students under Tier 4. See http://www.majesticcollege.org

  19. I am international stundent studing health and social care course(GCSE)in the united kingdom.In connection to the tier 4 wereas stundent are finding it hard to find a college that meet the rules of the home office.what kind of advices you can give to stundent.eg relocating another college,waitng for your visa from the home office,finding job,all these sectors need prove of passport.

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