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Three steps to a student visa | Immigration Matters

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According to UK Government figures, overseas students are worth £4.7 billion to the UK economy.

Around 300,000 overseas students are currently studying the many thousands of courses on offer in the UK. The Tony Blair ‘Prime Minister’s Initiative’ and British Council wants to encourage more prospective students to choose Britain to further their education as well broaden their knowledge and experience.

Student visas for a wide range of courses are being issued by the British Embassy in Manila, despite rumours to the contrary.

However, obtaining a student visa is not that easy, as thousands of applicants each year discover to their cost, and the process has recently changed with new Visa Application Forms.

So what do you need to do to if you want to study in the UK?

  1. Firstly, you need to enrol in a bona fide University or College offering suitable courses. Colleges are currently regulated by the DfES or DIUS (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills), and your college or educational establishment must be on this register in order to obtain a Student visa.

  1. Secondly, you, or a sponsor, must be able to prove that you have sufficient means to pay for the course and support yourself during your studies.

  1. Thirdly, you must have suitable accommodation in place before you apply for your visa in order to satisfy the rules. This does not mean sleeping on your friend’s sofa!

Sponsors can help with both finances and accommodation, although Embassies are strict on suitability. A
London based company, Property Management Services, helps students find accommodation and carries out inspection reports for visa and appeal cases.

So why then are so many people refused Student Visas each year? The Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) can refuse an application for a variety of reasons, for instance that the application “does not satisfy the immigration rules” or because they do not believe the application to be credible.

Other reasons for a refusal for Entry Clearance to the UK range from: incorrectly completed forms, lack of evidence or information and submitting false documents or “show money” which appears from nowhere and cannot be explained.

Some ECO’s have refused visas based on unsubstantiated accusations and assumptions. Our appeal specialist recently won an appeal for Maria (not her real name) a Filipina ‘NVQ Health and Social Care’ student refused because the ECO said it would be cheaper to take an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) course in Manila. See

Our appeal specialist refuted the claim pointing out that courses in Manila were only based on NVQ modules and was not valid grounds for a refusal. Immigration Judge Majid agreed and allowed the appeal noting the “substantial benefits” of a British education.

Maria is now in the UK and successfully studying for an NVQ in Health and Social Care, with paid work placement, at Majestic College in Borehamwood.

She is happy with her job in a residential care home in Sussex and earns £6.50 per hour, the same as the other carers.

Unlike a Work Permit Holder, Maria is not tied to the employer, or the College for that matter, and can leave at anytime. Student workers have the same employment rights as any other worker. She must, however, be working in a care environment to complete the NVQ course.

NVQ Level 3 is recognised and gains 5 points under the new Points Based System.

For free regular immigration updates see

If you have any specific questions or comments, or need advice, you may email:

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