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Tier 4 to go ahead on 31 March despite problems | Immigration Matters

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The UK Government this week announced the ‘go-live’ date for Tier 4, for students, of the Australian style points-based system.

The five tier points system, which is being phased in over an eighteen month period starting in 2008, has been described by Immigration Minister Phil Woolas as the biggest change in immigration for 50 years.

The Work Permit system was replaced by Tier 2 in November and many employers in the care sector are still getting to grips with the new process. Large numbers of employers have not yet even registered as sponsors under Tier 2, leaving their Work Permit holding nursing and senior care staff at risk of being unable to renew their permits and leave to remain.

From 31st March, non-EU students looking to study in the UK will apply for their visas on line under the new rules.

International students must gain sufficient points by demonstrating that they have been accepted onto a course run by a UK Border Agency (UKBA) licensed education institution, and prove that they have the means to support themselves during their studies.

Students are already supplying their biometric details at local visa application centres as part of the visa process, as are UK based overseas students renewing their visas and applying for their required ID Cards.

International students are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during term time, full time work during the holidays, as well as any course related work placements, which must be strictly monitored by the sponsoring educational provider.

A UKBA spokesperson said:

“Thousands of international students choose to study in the UK every year. These changes to the visa application system will allow students to check whether they are eligible for a visa before they even apply, making the whole system more straightforward.

“We would urge anyone considering studying in the UK to visit the UKBA website now to familiarise themselves with the new regulations and ensure their application can be processed as quickly as possible.”

For the first time, all independent fee-paying schools, colleges and universities recruiting international students now need a licence, which replaces the DIUS Register, to do so.

The Government hopes the new licensing regime will help crack down on bogus and unfit colleges, as well as tightening the monitoring of students by forcing colleges to report absentee visa holders to the UK Border Agency.

According to Government figures, over a thousand UK institutions have signed up to sponsor international students, but hundreds more are in the pipeline awaiting approval or accreditation and will not be licensed when the new system goes live in just over two weeks.

British Embassies in major postings such as India and the Philippines are also struggling to meet the massive increase in the numbers of students applying for visas before Tier 4 kicks in.

In Manila last month the British Embassy’s visa handling partner, VFS Global, placed a restriction on the number of students applying for NVQ or vocational courses because it was unable to cope with the increased demand for student visas.

The company, which is part of the Zurich based Kuoni group, holds a multi-million pound contract to handle the initial processing of visa applications and biometrics at a number British Embassies in India and other Asian countries.

Vocational course student applicants in the Philippines attempting to submit documents via VFS Global are still experiencing severe problems and are, unlike other visa categories, being dealt with by “appointment only”. However, appointments are restricted to just ten per day and applicants calling daily for coveted appointment slots are told by VFS staff to “call back tomorrow”.

Under immigration rule 34, Embassies are supposed to allow the submission of visa applications by registered post. In these cases the visa application (VAF) has, it could be argued, already been submitted through the on-line process by the candidates.

UK visa teams have been given very little time to adjust to the introduction of Tier’s 2 and 5 in November and questions have to be asked as to whether Entry Clearance Officers and their partners are ready to take on this huge change.

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26 Responses to “Tier 4 to go ahead on 31 March despite problems”
Read them below or add one

  1. Hi Sir,
    I applied student visa tier 4 extension in january 2010 ,but was refused beause of not having 7200 pouns in my accoount and was not giving 10 points.I am confused why i was refused beause i have been in uk for 5 years on student visa.i thought paying 1st year fee and showing maintence funds for 2 months i.e 1600 pounds were enough to get extension.i have been giving a right of appeal against the descion.the last date for appeal is 27/04/2010 .Is there any chaance of wining the apeal on the mention solicitors says they have applied the the wrong rule for you and u and is very hopeful to win the case .pleasgive me some advise on this …
    your help will be much appreciated .


  2. Hi,
    I’m generally trying to help my friend. She got Student visa for 2 years issued in November 2008, with later modifications due to some address change (around march-april 2009). She came to UK in June 2009 and started her NVQ. She started workplacement on 1st of July, while school assessor should arrive shortly after that. School didnt give sign of life till August 2009, shortly after first call to set appointment school called again that they are out of funds and sugested transfer to new school. Her workplacement manager called other College and representative came shortly after and they signed agreement.
    Its been in early September 2009. Few days ago we found out about all this Tier4 system and realised that her new school is not on list.
    If she apply for new school which is on list does she need to make new application for tier4 visa or can continue on her existing visa (which was issued for 2years).
    Thanks for any additional sugestions.

  3. I was given VISA in March 2008 for my education in UK for one year. I continued studying with the same college for the progression second year but By the time I needed to renew my VISA, my college was in accreditation process. They issued me an explanatory letter with the VISA letter without the license. My VISA was recently refused due to school is still not in the registry. I have now 10 days to appeal and my college has applied to the license after the successful accreditation. They expect to have the license within 4-6 weeks. I have now completed almost 6 months of studies. Can I appeal under this ground?

  4. pls i need candid advise. i appealed my case thru a law firm in nigeria in feb 2009, we got a letter from the AIT in April 2009 that my appeal will procede to full hearing. What does FULL HEARING imply and until date i havent heard of a date for the hearing or result. Do get in touch with the AIT to confirm? As am aware that it takes up to 3-6 months. Mine is well over 6months since FEBUARY. Thnks

  5. dear sir,
    i reached in uk with nvq 3 student visa.i would like to change this into working visa,with the help of a it possible to there any agencies for helping this. waht are the criterias for there any restriction for the hours which i work.once after applied for ths working visa,unfortunately if it get rejected will be able to continue in student visa.plse clarify my doubts.this would be most appreciated.
    Thanking you

  6. The new maintenance rules on Tier 4 are very clear. See: or check the UK Border website student section.

  7. Dear Sir
    Iam well aware about the recent changes in immigration rules for student. But the rules are not very clear about the maintenance fund. I mean an international student needs to have the funds for his studies in his bank account or his sponsor’s bank account(i.e uncle, father,mother etc).
    Thanks very much

  8. We do not have full details of your case. However, you will need to extend your student visa (under tier 4) and this should be possible to do whilst in the UK. If you are not sure what to do, you should seek advice from a registered (OISC) immigration adviser before completing forms.

  9. edna alday says :

    I would like to appeal to the UK government to retain the 35-40 working hours for NVQ students in the social and healthcare sector especially those who are already in the UK.One of the reason why they were accepting these students before because there was chronic shortage in the care sector.How can they sustain their cost of living if they are allowed to work 20 hours only.Is this not inhuman.They spend so much to travel to UK .The new immigration rule is indirectly sending these students back home.

  10. Hi,

    I would like to ask,my student visa will expire on June 2009 on an NVQ course at the moment i am still awaiting for assessment.I already have a place and registered for a MSc course at a University which will start on september 2009 what shall i do with my visa?do i need to go home and apply as per PBS tier 4 guidance(num82)?or i can renew my visa in-country?

  11. You should have heard from the AIT – Asylum and Immigration Tribunal soon – by now.

  12. You should hear directly from the AIT – Asylum and Immigration Tribunal soon.


  14. BELLO SAIDU says :


    I had filled my appeal at the AIT since October 4 2008 through the Nigerian based immigration lawyers who claimed to have office in the Uk. Am not doubting them but is it possible for your organasation to handle my case as up to this moment they have not secure a hearing date for me. In another word is it late for you to handle my case,becouse i have confidence in what you do your success results speaks volumes for you.


  15. thank you mr charles kelly. (:

  16. please tell me what will be for those who have alreay applied appealand awaiting final order

  17. Check the UK Border Agency website Working in the UK section: You can find all the immigration rules there.

  18. burhan khan says :

    sir please kindly let me know about the hsmp rules, i am going to apply for hsmp this week.

  19. Thank you for your comment. It is difficult to answer your question without more information on the refusal and your appeal submissions to the AIT. However, if you have genuine grounds on which to appeal there is always a chance of winning. For further information see Good luck!

  20. thank you very much for this information mr charles kelly. i have a pending appeal too and the customer service in UK i talked last week, told me to call once every two weeks. and the appeal result may be release by april or so.

    this is my second time studying in the UK. the first time wasn’t really successful.i studied at IHMES Isle of man and i believe you know what happened to the school. i am now pursuing hospitality industry again. do you think i will have a chance winning my application?

  21. An appeal to the AIT and the result will apply regardless of Tier 4. You should chase the embassy for your visa.

  22. An appeal to the AIT takes several months and will proceed regardless of Tier 4. You should hear shortly. Anyone applying for a student visa prior to Tier 4 (under the current rules) has the right of a formal appeal, which will be heard in the UK before an Immigration Judge. Bison UK has won 95% of entry clearance appeals. For more information on the visa appeal process see

  23. Bernadette Olorvida says :

    Good Day!

    I am one of those student visa applicant that tracks whats happening in UK immigration law about students entering the UK.

    I would like to know if how long would it take the appeal I made to Asylum and Tribunal that was sent way back November 20, 2008? Is there a possibility of granting visa to a denied applications considering whats happening nowadays?

    Moreso, how can you help me follow-up my appeal to the UK embassy Asylum and Tribunal.

    Your answer will be greatly appreciated for a first time student like me.

    More power!

  24. This is sivasakthivel shanmugam i have applied for entry clearance to the uk as a student on august 2008 but my visa is got rejected so i have done an appeal now i have won the appeal but the new rules (point based system ) is going to implement for the students tier 4 on the end of march 2009 according to that all colleges should have licenced sponsor to recruit foreign students the college which i have applied dont have licenced sponsor status so wat will happen now they will give me visa or they will ask me to change the college or they will refuse my application iam worried abt this plz help me

  25. […] changes will introduce the new Tier 4 route for students, as well as changing the academic and financial requirements of the Tier 1 for highly skilled […]

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