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Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules signals end for lower level courses for overseas students | Immigration Matters

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The ‘statement of changes in Immigration Rules’, laid before Parliament on 10 February 2010 under section 3(2) of the Immigration Act 1971, will kill off vocational courses for overseas students.

The rule changes, which affects those applying for Tier 4 student visas after 3 March, effectively signals the end of the road for lower level NVQ and vocational courses for non-EU students.

The 10 hour working week restriction alone is enough to deter most students from choosing the UK as their place of study. Even if they still wanted to come to Britain, any affordable private colleges offering below degree level courses will not be able to sponsor them as they will not be included on the so called ‘highly trusted sponsor’ list just announced by Alan Johnson.

Only government funded colleges and universities will initially be included on the ‘highly trusted’ list, as the criteria for private colleges has yet to be decided.

The fees charged by government funded colleges will be far higher than their competitors in the private sector, which is perhaps why universities have welcomed the changes.

A typical private college charges around £2500 to £3000 for a NVQ course with many allowing students to pay by instalments.

But the same course in a government funded college will cost up to 50% more, and the institution will demand full payment in advance.

Like most universities and funded HE colleges, the South Cheshire College advertises NVQ courses for foreign students at a different rate to resident learners.

Their website quotes:  “the overseas student tuition fee for one academic year for the majority of our courses is at present £4500.00.”

Note that the charge is for “one academic year”, not the entire course. Therefore, if the student cannot complete the course within the nine month academic year they will presumably be charged a further £4500 bringing the total cost for a NVQ to £9000!

For not much more, an efficiently run private college could offer a degree level qualification, fully backed and awarded by a UK university.

The Statement of Changes in full

The changes in this Statement shall take effect on 3 March 2010. However, if an applicant has made an application for entry clearance or leave to enter or remain before 3 March 2010 and the application has not been decided before that date, it will be decided in accordance with the Rules in force on 2 March 2010 and the conditions applicable to any leave granted will be those in force on 2 March 2010.

1. I n paragraph 6, after the definition of “degree level study”, add:

““foundation degree” means a programme of study which leads to a qualification awarded by a UK higher education institution with degree awarding powers which is at a minimum of level 5 on the revised National Qualifications Framework, or level 8 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.”

2. I n paragraph 245C(f)(xix) after “as a Tier 4 Migrant” substitute “.” with “, or” and add:

“(xx) as the Partner of the Relevant Points Based System Migrant if the Relevant Points Based System Migrant is a Tier 4 Migrant.”

3. I n paragraph 245ZF(c)(xxi), after “as a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrant substitute “.” with “, or” and add:

“(xxii) as the Partner of the Relevant Points Based System Migrant if the Relevant Points Based System Migrant is a Tier 4 Migrant.”

4. Delete paragraph 245ZW(c)(iii)(1) and substitute:

“(1) employment during term time of no more than 20 hours per week where the student is following a course of degree level study or a foundation degree course,

(2) employment during term time of no more than 10 hours per week where the student is following a course of study below degree level study (excluding a foundation degree course),”

5. I n paragraph 245ZW(c)(iii), renumber subsequent sub-paragraphs (2) to (5) as (3) to (6).

6. Delete paragraph 245ZY(c)(iii)(1) and substitute:

“(1) employment during term time of no more than 20 hours per week where the student is following a course of degree level study or a foundation degree course,

(2) employment during term time of no more than 10 hours per week where the student is following a course of study below degree level study (excluding a foundation degree course),”

7. I n paragraph 245ZY(c)(iii), renumber subsequent sub-paragraphs (2) to (5) as (3) to (6).

8. I n paragraph 245ZZB(c)(iv)(1) delete “20” and substitute “10”.

9. I n paragraph 245ZZD(c)(iv)(1) delete “20” and substitute “10”.

10. After paragraph 319C(h)(iii), insert:

“(i) If the Relevant Points Based System Migrant is a Tier 4 Migrant, the Tier 4 Migrant must be applying for or have entry clearance or leave to remain for a course of study that is longer than six months.”

11. I n paragraph 319D(b)(iv), after “employment” substitute “.” with “,” and insert:

“(v) if the Relevant Points Based System Migrant is a Tier 4 Migrant who is following a course of study below degree level study (excluding a foundation degree course), no employment.”

12. After paragraph 319H(h)(iii), insert:

“(i) If the Relevant Points Based System Migrant is a Tier 4 Migrant, the Tier 4 Migrant must be applying

for or have entry clearance or leave to remain for a course of study that is longer than six months.”

13. I n paragraph 319I(b)(iii), after “employment” substitute “.” with “,” and insert:

“(iv) if the Relevant Points Based System Migrant is a Tier 4 Migrant who is following a course of study below degree level study (excluding a foundation degree course), no employment.”. END

The Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg, this week laid an Early Day Motion before the House of Commons opposing the changes:

‘That the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 367), a copy of which was laid before this House on 10 February, be disapproved.’

This week Immigration Minister Phil Woolas boasted on BBC’s Newsnight programme that the government had closed down “two thousand private colleges” following a review of Tier 4 last year.

Overseas students are worth £8 billion to the UK economy and provide much needed jobs for thousands of people.

However, with a General Election expected in May, and immigration high on the agenda, the only job Prime Minsiter Gordon Brown seems hell bent on saving is his own.

See also:

Universities welcome Tier 4 student visa changes

Foreign student working hours to be cut under new rules announced today

What students should do when their college Tier 4 Licence is suspended

Clampdown on UK student visas announced by Home Office

UK suspends Tier 4 student visa applications from northern India

Can students who break visa rules stay in UK?

Important news for education providers sponsoring migrant students

Changes to Tier 4 student visa applications next month

Tough changes could hit overseas students

If you need any immigration advice or help with Studying in the UK, Settlement, Citizenship, Sponsorship, extending Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:

info@immigrationmatters.co.uk or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk

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6 Responses to “Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules signals end for lower level courses for overseas students”
Read them below or add one

  1. […] the new immigration rules only those education providers that qualify under the new highly trusted sponsor category will […]

  2. respected sir/ madam

    i had got the visa and my college is been suspended , and i still not having hope that it will return so it is possible to apply for new visa letter and travel to uk .

  3. Melvin says :

    Dear Mr. Kelly,

    I went to the UKBA website (http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/) to look for this policy change information but couldn’t find it. Is this new policy already in place or will be in place by this week? Reason why I am asking is I already reached to my school regarding this policy change and have referenced this info to them. I am still waiting for my student visa/entry clearance approval from the UK embassy, Manila. I submitted my application (Level 3) on Jan 5, 2010 and still have not heard. If the vocational course will be abolished, I might lose chance of getting approved then.

    Please advise.

  4. […] Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules signals end for lower level courses for overseas students […]

  5. […] Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules signals end for lower level courses for overseas students […]

  6. […] Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules signals end for lower level courses for overseas students […]

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