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Student visa applicants in turmoil | Immigration Matters

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Students who applied online for their visas up to three months ago are now being informed by the British Embassy in Manila that they will be subject to the new Tier 4 rules, which came into force on 31 March 2009. 

During the run up to the start of Tier 4 of the Points based System, which replaced the old student visa system at the end of March, many hundreds of students for NVQ courses were unable to obtain an appointment with the British Embassy’s visa agent VFS Global. 

The NVQ visa problem was revealed by Immigration Matters in February after a large number of candidates complained that VFS Global had imposed restrictions on NVQ applicants, allocating them just ten appointments a day.   

As the appointment slots inevitably filled up for March and April, applicants were unable to submit their documents, biometrics and visa fees in support of their online VAF visa applications. 

By early March applicants were being told by VFS staff that there were no appointments available until May 2009 – over one month after the start of Tier 4. 

Some appointments were brought forward into March, but it appears the remainder of the pipeline applications will be judged under new terms conditions. 

Immigration Rule 34 states that the British Embassy are required to accept applications by registered mail, but even these legally submitted applications have been ignored. 

Student 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 account.

In addition, they are being told to produce new letters of acceptance from their educational providers, which must also be on the UK Border Agency’s sponsors register. 

To make matters worse, large numbers of colleges are still awaiting approval due to a huge backlog in applications at the UKBA and their accreditation bodies. 

Students with appointments booked in April are also being asked to comply with rules, which were not in existence when they originally applied for their visas as far back as January. 

Students refused under Tier 4 will not have any right of appeal, however, refusals under previous rules will still benefit from a full appeal before an Immigration Judge at the AIT. 

No allowance has been made or transitional arrangements put in place for the hundreds of pipeline applications which built up prior to the new rules taking effect. 

One UK based student agent, who prefers not to be named, said that he had 190 applications lodged in Manila awaiting approval. He has no idea how many will be approved, declined or deferred to Tier 4, a situation which he finds “totally unacceptable”.

He complained that his students have been “blocked” by the UK Border Agency led restrictions on NVQ students, and now the colleges he has been recommending are in the UKBA licensing bottleneck and will not be approved for at least three more months.

International students, who contribute over £8 billion to the UK economy, are being taken for granted, ironically at the very time both educational institutions and Gordon Brown desperately needs their cash. 


Tier 4 for Students Video 

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26 Responses to “Student visa applicants in turmoil”
Read them below or add one

  1. Contact the British Embassy

  2. sanjeev sharma says :

    i m waiting for my visa please inform me my result please

  3. Hi!
    i applied for tier4 student visa.After 1 week i was denied because of my maintenance fund. My bank account in UK based although I am in the Philippines now. i have that account since i have from UK last year under the old system. My last statement of account was dated nov 19 and I lodged my application on dec 4. It states there that i wasnt able to hold the sum of money for the require period. I have that account already since March 2008 and is still active. How come the ECO didnt award the ten point to me? Hope you could help me. Thanks

  4. hi!im maria what happen to our application i lodge jan.26,2009 more than 6 months to wait. but one of my friendlodge march 2009 and she recieve a visa my friend recieve ony 2 months. but my my application is 6 months already but until now no result

  5. olweleng says :

    i have been refused student visa this year january because i had a working holiday before and the officer i am going to work because i had 6000 pounds on my bank account even though i was been sponsored by my uncle and by the 30th of may i went to england to watch fa cup final but they refused me entry because i had been refused student visa before i showed everything to them but they still decline,i had had to go back the same day they even took my finger prints even though i am a botswana natioanl, i was only going there for two days,now i am planning to apply for student visa in august the same school and the same course,do i stand any chance of obtaining study visa?

  6. Do you have agents or office here in the Philippines to help or assist me with my requirements for a student visa? if so, how can i contact them?

  7. […] by Ambassador Espiritu at the Philippine Embassy in London, Peter Beckenham explained that the huge backlog occurred as a result of the explosion of NVQ student applications prior to the start of the new […]

  8. The VFS Global VACs office has never closed and NVQ have never been removed from the student category.

  9. NICOLAI says :


  10. Ruffa Diaz says :

    anybody there who could explain why an applicant must held the money at least 28 days?? How about the usual reasons for refusal like history of the account, can we just proceed to any bank and secure a bank certificate even if you just applied for it?? Normally, visa officers will deny an application if they found out that a bank statement/certificate was just opened for the purpose of showing there is a readily available funds..

  11. benito mariano says :

    why some of the questions here are not answered?hope someone can answer my question.any low skilled job available in uk?and how long to wait for this visa?and why some student visa who applied in uk embassy are so nugger or may i say had some comments to uk but you want to go there to work right and simple rules you can’t follow?don’t go to uk if you had a attitude ok.your not the only one who is affected in the uk new policy in immigration..

  12. […] visa applications refused after 31 March 2009 under Tier 4 of the points based system will not be subject to an appeal. In these cases a new Administrative […]

  13. Marcelina M. Andal says :

    Hi,i’m one of tha applicants of nvq program. i made my application last jan.22,2009 thru vfs but untill now my visa didn’t come out processing of visas really take time?i’m waiting for 3 months now and still waiting and hoping that one day my visa will be released soon.what are the reasons for taking so long?please reply to my questions.

  14. […] I pointed out that anyone who had applied for a UK student visa knows that it is anything but easy. See Student Visa Turmoil.  […]

  15. marita m. constantino says :

    hello, i am also waiting for the result of my student visa application last january 29,2009.. and when i get to track my application still on the processing stage… just hoping for the results soon… hoping to hear from you.. thank you very much

  16. No, if you were one of the fortunate ones able to get an appointment with VFS in February your application should be looked at under old rules.

  17. Thank you for your comment. The unamed person who made these comments has obviously not read this article, and previous articles, fully. Immigration Matters is informing student candidates of the facts and the articles are based on the actual experience of student visa candidates.

  18. Michelle, you need to start working on your visa extension now. If you need immigration advice or help, contact Bison UK ( on 0208 905 1822 or find an OISC registered adviser on the OISC website.

  19. Re NVQ Courses with work placement: Contact 0208 207 1020

  20. michelle says :

    hi mr. kelly, my visa will expire this coming mid june.. is it possible for me to apply for my student extention visa next month on may? looking forward for your response thanks and regards- michelle

  21. Hi

    What is your source reference for this information please?


  22. NVQ Student says :

    This article is MISLEADING! It mentions that “Students who applied online for their visas up to three months ago are now being informed by the British Embassy in Manila that they will be subject to the new Tier 4 rules.” This is NOT the whole truth. Your article is causing unwarranted FEAR and CONCERN for NVQ students who have nothing to be afraid of, as long as they submitted their applications thru VFS the partner of British Embassy here in Manila. Those students who applied online AND submitted their application with VFS in Manila – ARE NOT AFFECTED! Those of us who submitted our applications following the CORRECT PROTOCOL via VFS, HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY SUCH CALLS. I submitted my file with VFS in Jan 2009 and my friend last March 2009. We are still under the old NVQ system and unaffected by Tier 4. This article needs to be edited/retracted!

  23. Hi Good day, I passed my online application and lodged my VAF in VFS on the first week of february 2009, Does it mean that our papers was not in the processing stage yet? does this also mean that we should re-apply in compliance to the new rules (TIER 4)???

  24. Gurinder says :

    I am not surprised on this news. I dont think any other country in the world changes immigration rules more frequently than UK. It is a fact that UK Economy cant survive without immigrants but they are still making their life difficult by frequent changes of rules, leaving many lives in the dock. Are they bothered? Obviously no. It is only going to make UK a less attractive country for immigration in the future.

  25. oh wow i submitted my NVQ student application last february 23, 2009 and still waiting for the results.. so does this mean i will be subjected to the new tier 4 rules too?

  26. i submitted my Student visa last year December 22, 2008 and until now i don’t have the result yet…. what happened? does it really take this long? hope to hear from you…. thanks!

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