The UK Border Agency has implemented significant changes to the Tier 4 student route of the points-based system, which came into effect on 4 July 2011.
The Government has revised the Immigration Rules relating to Tier 4 in order to:
- restrict work entitlements, by only allowing students sponsored by higher education institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded further education colleges to work part-time during term time and full-time during vacations;
- restrict sponsorship of dependants to those of students sponsored by HEIs on postgraduate courses lasting 12 months or longer, and of government-sponsored students on courses lasting longer than 6 months;
- require institutions to confirm that courses represent genuine academic progression from any previous courses studied by the student in the UK; and
- create a streamlined application process for low-risk nationals sponsored by Highly Trusted sponsors.
The agency said:
‘These changes are aimed at delivering a strong migration system which tackles immigration abuse while allowing genuine students to study at genuine colleges.
‘We have also revised the application forms for Tier 4 (General), Tier 4 (child) and dependants under the points-based system. The new versions of these forms should be used with immediate effect.’
The changes to the Immigration Rules were laid in Parliament on 13 June. A previous news story gives full details of all the changes and associated amendments that come into force this week.
I am a tier 4 student, how does this affect me?
Immigration Adviser Cynthia Barker said:
‘This means that if you renew your visa for a private college or change college after 4 July 2011, you will not be able to work and you will not be able to sponsor your dependant.’
A revised version of policy guidance document for Tier 4 migrants, and a statement of intent summarising the new student visa policy, can also be downloaded from UKBA website.
How does this affect current students in the UK who have valid student visas?
If you already have valid leave or visa, you will not be affected by the new rules. However, if you transfer college to a private provider, you will now follow the new rules.
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