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Points Based Tier 4 starts 31 March | Immigration Matters

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Tier 4, for students, will be launched on 31 March 2009, despite the huge backlog of student visa (VAF) applications at many major Embassy posts. 

Large visa sections, such as Manila, are inundated with student visa applications and processing is taking up to four months. 

There is also the question of exactly how the visa section will treat applicants who have submitted their VAF visa applications online, but have failed to get an appointment to submit payment and biometrics.

We have received a large number of complaints from students unable to get an appointment inorder to submit documents to the British Embassy’s visa handling partner, VFS Global

Tier 4 is the final stage of the five-tier points-based system, which has been phased in over the last 18 months by the UK Border Agency. 

Students will need to gain at least 40 points to qualify for a visa under the new scheme: 

  • 30 points are gained form a visa letter or Letter of Acceptance from an approved educational provider
  • 10 points are gained by proving you have enough money to cover the course and living expenses 

The full Sponsorship Management System and electronic confirmation of acceptance (CAS) for studies will not be rolled out until September 2009.

According to the UKBA document, ‘Tier 4 of the Points Based System Policy Guidance‘, if you are studying inside London you will need to show, in your account, at least £800 per month for 9 months plus the course fee.  If you are studying outside London, you will need to show £600 per month for 9 months plus the course fee. 

For in-country students renewing their visas for courses of longer than 9 months, you will need to show the first year’s course fees plus £1600 for courses inside London and £1200 outside London.

Applying for a visa under Tier 4 should be more straightforward than the current student visa scheme, but there are some drawbacks. 

The maintenance requirement is more clearly defined, however, funds will have to be shown in the applicant’s account for at least a month before applying. 

Entry Clearance Officers (ECO) will not be able to refuse a visa based on subjective reasons such as “intention to return home” or because the ECO believes “on the balance of probabilities” that the student will not follow the course. 

Decisions under Tier 4 will be more objective and based on factual information. For this reason students will no longer have the right to appeal against a refusal. Instead, refusals will be dealt with internally by an Entry Clearance Manager under a new “Administrative Review” system. 

Applications refused under the current rules will still qualify for a full appeal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT), where cases will be decided by an Immigration Judge. 

Tier 4 students will still be able to work 20 hours per week, plus additional hours of ‘work-based study’ for those on vocational or NVQ courses, but this will be more strictly monitored by the college. 

Some employers in the care sector have come to rely on ‘NVQ Health and Social Care’ students to fill the gap left by Work Permit restrictions on Senior Carers. Despite the recession there seems to be plenty of jobs available for the student’s paid work placements.

For full details see the ‘Studying in the UK’ section of the UK Border Agency website:

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:  or visit

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42 Responses to “Points Based Tier 4 starts 31 March”
Read them below or add one

  1. hello, my visa is under tier 4 and my course is higher professional diploma in health and well being. in my visa they did not put any restricted hours, how many hours im allowed to work and am i entitled for work placement?

  2. Gnanika sewwandi Punchihewa says :

    Hye, Im studying now in university of Worcester for my Health science Top-Up Degree.I came for Tier4 visa and it will be over in may 2012.I wanted to apply for post study work permit and also I hope to do overseas Nursing Programme in the next year. please can u give me an opinion to do this?

  3. atuar rahman says :

    hi, i cme in uk 06 sep. 2009 and my college terminate my.right now i wants to admitted a new it possible as a tier 4 rules?

  4. hi i have applied for the visa extension but the sponsor was suspended then after can i apply for the new sponsor and send papers to the home office before i get any decision will i get entry clearance if so

  5. rikesh says :

    i am a tier4 student studyin in uk but now i want to apply to usa as i have got a sponsor there so can u guide to the process and tell me the rules and regulation
    thank you

  6. Abdul Aziz Korai says :

    Hi , my name is Abdul aziz korai i am full time employed in mobilink frenchise as a finance officer and applied student visa and qualify 40 points but entry clearance refused me on the basis of that i am not employed i have shown false information of employment which totally wrong because i am working with my employer since three years , kindly suggest me what should i do to prove my employment is genuine,

  7. Farhan says :

    Hi, sir i applied student visa and submit my bank statement covering my accommodation and year fees expenses , total required amount was 8400 pounds while i have submitted my bank statement of 8600 pounds but entry clearance did not keenly seen my bank statement and he refused my student visa , and reason shown that i have 8320 pounds in my bank account , while this big mistake did my entry clearance officer , because i have 8600 pounds in my bank account , it clearly shows that entry clearance did not see my bank statement keenly , and refused me unjustifiably, suggest me what i have to do although i have right of administrative review , what should i do and how much time it will take

  8. Bianca says :

    hi sir:
    i would like to make comment on the inconsistencies of the ECO in the Philippines. I have a friend who applied for tier 4 but was refused on the grounds that her visa letter is invalid…when in fact it shows all the mandatory details as stipulated in the guidance policy of UKBA and the college is UKBA licensed. I feel that ECOhasnt fully assessed the papers of the applicants. At first, she was refused because the visa letter doesnt contain the course, she applied again and have a comprehensive visa letter but was again refused…at this point the college doesnt know what really the ECO’s are looking for..

  9. Dear Mr. Kelly

    Good Day! I am Cheryl Ann a student visa applicant… I applied my visa last June and received the result last October 15 and it was refused. The ECO wrote that he is not satisfied that I claimed 10 points for my maintenance to finance my studies but I was able to raise 30 percent for all the documents needed therefore I met all the requirements except for the financial matters. Would you please give me advice on how to make an appeal to the Administrative Review Board. Currently we already have enough money based on their required amount which is 9387 pounds. How will I make an appeal for that?Are there any chances that my visa will be reversed?

    Thank you and Hope to hear from you sir very soon.

    Cheryl Ann Sardia

  10. My Advise go back to your home if u cant pay its better

  11. You could start by paying your fees?

  12. sameera malik says :

    i am here on student visa tier 4 west end London college i didn’t pay my fee i m doing 1 year diploma in travel tourism and hospitality management now i m going to change my college pl z give me some advise wot i do to need

  13. prasadh says :

    Dear sir / modam,

    I have been studying in the uk with tier4 student visa. i have small problem with my self. i have selected early LSBM college, LSBM college has said we have not enough students so you have to study any other college. because i have transfered to study to st.pettrics i have been studying st.pettrics college. here i have to know when i am renew my visa (tier4 student visa rules) in the uk, is it any problems with me sir. please provides deatials to me shortly what are the documents need for that?. could i change any other college to study?

    Thank you for my recards.

  14. hi!my question is about withdrawals..i have applied for a student visa in 2007 and when i realize that there were some fudge documents i have withdraw the documents…but now i am willing to apply with fresh and 100% genuine documents….what will happen to my application?
    thank you..

  15. saiful alam says :

    i got student visa last college is in manchester.but i like london for study i feel bad in manchester.i got this visa in tier 4 system.plz tell me how can i can change my college in london.plz sir help me soon.

  16. Hi, my question is about the 10 point (Maintenance fees).
    I have enough money to pay the tuition fees but I don’t have enough money in my bank for (12 months * maintenance fees) but I receive regularly enough money for a monthly maintenance fees.
    Since I don’t have enough money in my bank does the written evidence support from family will be accepted as proof?

  17. AIT forms are normally submitted via post or fax, which may explain why you have heard nothing.

  18. sangeetha says :

    hi..i have applied for a student visa in 2007 in 2 times. which were refused. and then the marketing manager of the college said me that we make an appeal.
    i signed the appeal form and sent him through the e-mail. after i did get any reply from him and Home Office.i can’t contact him now.i decided to apply for MBA.please advice me regarding my problem… thanking you….

  19. […] “Foreign doctors can come here to work through Tier 1, which is for highly skilled migrants, or Tier 2, which is for skilled migrants. Students coming to the UK to study medicine can come in under Tier 4. […]

  20. hi I have applied for student visa in dec 2007.which was rejected,because ECO was not satisfied due to the sudden increment in account was a business account.i sent my documents to tribunal.Tribunal replied me(because i telephoned) after 11 months with a single letter that your case is now dismissed.Should I apply again without any fear of rejection.will ambassy grant me i have wasted my precious 2 years.

  21. hey i’ve got a question. So im doing a degree in Uni of Reading.The course is supposed to be 3 years but I now require an additional year to finish it because I did not pass 1 of my papers in year 2. I had medical note sent to the university and they’ve accepted that so I have just re-sat for that paper. Now my visa expires end of Oct 2009, do I still need to apply under Tier 4? (and show prove for Maintenance and get the Visa letter from uni?) Also will it make a difference if I go back this summer and extend it back in my home country?

  22. zulkarnane says :

    hi sir ,hope u willbe fine
    i want to ask a question that i have applied for united kingdom under tier4,and waiting 4 the result
    but just tell me that last time i was refused due to the college that the acceptance letter is bogus now it is not my fault but it was refused please tell me is there any connection with the last refusal this time or not

  23. Louise Camara says :

    My sister is submitting her application for a Masters Degree in Law at Holborn College which has the right accrediation. All her course fees and living expenses will be borne by me. Would that be a problem for her to be granted a visa?

  24. […] acknowledged that Tier 4, of the points system, will take away much of the ECO’s decision making […]

  25. hi Mr kelly, i am stdying in a university now and my course is ACCA by visa is going to expire in june and my exam is in june as well. i am deciing to move in another college with other course if i dont pass in this june exam.if i extend my visa with current university so can i change my course and college under tier 4 after extension because it is not decided right now that i will move or continue with the same uni??? thank you

  26. aga arcilla says :

    Dear Mr.Kelly,
    Good day Sir.
    Please advise me. I applied a student visa on-line last February 22, 2009. It was very difficult to get an appointment to submit biometrics and documents at the VAF in Manila because of limit of up to 10 applicants a day. I sent e-mail to the embassy and replied that since I lodge my application on-line on 22 February 2009, said that I will not fall under TIER 4. Im worried though after I read an article on your website that applicants who have applications from 3 months are told by the VAF to follow the new rule.
    Many thanks and God bless.

  27. If you are in the UK on a student visa, you should be studying, however, you have a choice as to where you continue with your studies in the UK.

  28. hi Mr. C. Kelly,

    We are doing are NVQ studies here in Derbyshire and three of my collegues have finished their NVQ Level 3 last february 2009 they received their certificates just this month and now our training provider is giving them 2weeks to decide if they will enroll for a higher NVQ level in their institution or else they said the immigration might send them back home if they wont be enrolled right away because according to them it is unlawful for a student to stay here unenrolled for longer then 3 months post study even if their visa’s were still far from expiry. My concern here is why were their certificates given just only now and they were being forced in a way to enroll with them. Cant student like myself for example have a 4month break before enrolling again to our preferred school? So they are at the moment in a big hurry to find new training provider because they dont like to do their NVQ4 here anymore.

    I am humbly looking forward and will be very pleased to hear from you.
    Thank you very much and God bless.

  29. mubashir says :

    Hello, I am doing master in UK and planing to continue for PHD now, can I apply for next three year visa from here or do I have to go back to my home country for applying next visa?

  30. […] candidates will now have to meet new Tier 4 maintenance requirements, which means being able to show funds in their own (as opposed to a sponsor’s) bank […]

  31. Zena Malapitan says :

    Dear Mr. Kelly,

    My son who is currently working as a caregiver in Israel had decided to come over to study in NVQ. I have enrolled him in one training center where we live. I have already an acceptance letter from the school. Can you help me process his student visa?
    Please advise!

    thank you very much!

  32. aditya says :

    i would like to know the exact ielts band required to apply for uk visa….

  33. hello, in my case i am just worried about being refuse as you won’t have the right to appeal anymore. does this apply to student who send their visa before it expire? my visa is already expire for 3 days.I am in the process of getting all necessary documents done and by the time every things are ready i’ll be 2 weeks overstayed.should i stay and send my application or should i go home to my home country?what is the consequence of this?is going back to my home country advisable here?will i be spotted at the airport for being overstay?thank you very much for every helps/advice/opinion given.

  34. […] Points Based Tier 4 starts 31 March  […]

  35. […] Tier 4, of the five-tier points system, starts today, despite the fact that the full electronic system (CAS) will not be ready until September.  […]

  36. No, that is not the case. Students holding visas issued under ‘Tier 4’ will only be allowed to move with UKBA permission, but pre-Tier 4 student visa holders can still change colleges.

  37. michelle says :

    Some colleges are saying that starting 31st of march students are not allowed to transfer to majestic college. is it true?


  38. You should be in the process of rebewing your visa now? Suggest you contact your college or the new college to discuss your options.

  39. michelle says :

    hi mr kelly. i just want to ask u some questions regarding the new rule in the Home Office. im holding a student visa and my visa is nearly expired in 2 months time. i just done my NVQ level 3 but im still registered to the college where i did my course but i am planning to change college to do my NVQ Level 4.can u please give me some advices what to do and can u pease tell me what are the requirements for applying a student extention visa and how much it will costs plz plz plzzzz….


  40. Vesa Mae H. Espino says :

    I passed my VAF application last december 12, 2008. until now, i am still waiting for the result of my student visa. would i still be affected by the new points system? please advice me. i am worried.

  41. Yes, Majestic College are accredited by ASIC

  42. kulwinder says :

    send me informations on ielts .i would apply in july for september course i would go their for doing aeronautical engg.

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