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The UK Border Agency implemented major changes this week to Tier 4 of the points-based system affecting non-EU students applying for and renewing student visas.

The statement of changes to the Immigration Rules was announced by the Home Secretary in a statement to Parliament on 22 March.

The UK Border Agency said:

‘The aim of the revised Rules is to deliver a strong migration system which tackles immigration abuse, while allowing genuine students to study at genuine colleges.’

Details of the changes were outlined in a news story on 22 March. You can also find a summary of the new student policy under ‘Related documents’ on the right side of this page.

New versions of our policy guidance documents for Tier 4 migrants and sponsors were published last month and come into effect today. You can find these in the Studying in the UK and Sponsoring migrants sections of this website.


The Government will ‘phase in changes to the rules in order to give providers and students time to plan accordingly’. 

Changes include a ban on all work for students applying for visas to study at private colleges from this ’summer 2011′, a shake-up of accreditation bodies and the right to refuse entry to students who fail to demonstrate a competent level of English upon arrival at UK ports.

During a ‘transitional period’ beginning 21 April 2011, those sponsors who do not meet the new requirements as regards educational accreditation and Highly Trusted Sponsor status will be subject to a limit on their allocation of Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) until such time as they meet those new requirements. 

In summary the measures and timetable are as follows: 

Changes from 21 April 2011 

New sponsors not already on the Tier 4 register will have to meet the new educational accreditation criteria in order to be issued a Tier 4 licence. 

Existing sponsors will be subject to an interim limit on the number of students they can sponsor unless they: 

  • hold Highly Trusted Sponsor status; and
  • meet the new accreditation criteria.

Existing sponsors that do not already meet the new accreditation criteria will be required to apply to the relevant inspection body by a date to be announced, in order to be able to continue to sponsor new students, subject to the interim limit, during the transitional period.  

B rated sponsors will not be able to assign CAS to new students (only to those seeking to complete a course). 

A sponsor who is not subject to the interim limit may sponsor, using his own CAS allocation, students studying at a sponsor who is subject to the interim limit, but must take full responsibility for them (e.g. higher education institutions1 could sponsor students at Pathway providers). 

English Language 

The English language requirements for Tier 4 (General) students will be tightened as follows: 

A B1 Secure English Language Test (SELT) requirement for all courses at NQF 3-5 /QCF 3-5 / SCQF 6-8 (ending the current SELT exemptions on pre-sessionals /pathway /foundation degree courses). 

A B2 SELT requirement for courses at NQF 6 /QCF 6 / SQCF 9 and above, with an exception for higher education institutions who can make their own assessment. 

A student may be refused a visa or entry to the UK if he cannot speak English without assistance

The Government will clarify that a CAS may only be issued in respect of a single course, except where the student is attending a pre-sessional course of not more than three months’ duration and has an unconditional offer of a place at a higher education institution or at an independent school starting not more than one month after the end of the pre-sessional course. 

The full document is available on the UKBA website, however, as we have received a number of questions related to working hours allowed for students, we are outlining the Government’s intention below. 


For students sponsored by and studying directly with higher education institutions, we will retain the current level of permission to work at 20 hours per week part-time during term-time for students undertaking courses at degree level or above and 10 hours per week part-time during term time for students undertaking courses below degree level.

All students studying directly with higher education institutions will be able to work full-time during vacations. 

For students sponsored by publicly-funded colleges of further education the Government will also retain the current level of permission to work at 10 hours per week part-time during term-time and full-time during vacations. 

From summer 2011 students who are applying for entry clearance or leave to remain and who are not sponsored by a higher education institutions – University or publicly-funded further education college – will not be granted permission to work at any time during their studies.

However, the ‘Summary of the new student policy document’ published 21 April 2011, states the following; 


Work during term and work placements

Students at Recognised Bodies (universities) will retain their right to work 20 hours a week part-time and to do work placements where the study : work ratio is 50:50.

Students at publicly funded FE colleges will continue to be able to work 10 hours a week part-time.

Other students will have no right to work part-time and work placements will have to be 66:33 in favour of study : work. 

In a further statement on 22 March the UK Border Agency said: 

‘Tougher entrance criteria, limits on work entitlements and the closure of the post-study work route are among the changes to the student visa system announced today by Home Secretary Theresa May. 

‘Students at universities and publicly funded further education colleges will retain their current work rights, but all other students will have no right to work. We will place restrictions on work placements in courses outside universities.’ 

But Paragraphs 273 and 274 (covering the area of working whilst studying in the UK) of the revised policy guidance for Tier 4 migrants (Tier 4 of the Points Based System – Policy Guidance updated 21 April 2011) from 21 April 2011, clearly differs and makes no reference to the earlier (STUDENT VISAS STATEMENT OF INTENT AND TRANSITIONAL MEASURES) document, which to be fair was not ‘definitive’: 

Can a student work whilst in the UK? 

273.  Where a Tier 4 (General) student is following a course of degree level study or above, or a foundation degree course, the following work is allowed: 

  • part-time during term-time, which is no more than 20 hours a week; •
  • full-time during vacations; •
  • on a work placement as part of the course;•
  • as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme;•
  • as a student union sabbatical officer for up to two years. 

274.  Where a Tier 4 (General) student is following a course of study below degree level, that is not a foundation degree course, the following work is allowed: 

  • part-time during term-time, which is no more than 10 hours a week;•
  • full-time during vacations;•
  • on a work placement as part of a course;•
  • as a student union sabbatical officer for up to two years. 

Part 6A of the Immigration Rules appear to mirror the wording in the official guidance: 

245ZW. Period and conditions of grant 

(c)  Entry clearance will be granted subject to the following conditions: 

(i) no recourse to public funds,

(ii) registration with the police, if this is required by paragraph 326 of these Rules,

(iii) no employment except: 

(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),

(3) employment (of any duration) during vacations,

(4) employment as part of a course-related work placement which forms an assessed part of the applicant’s course and provided that any period that the applicant spends on that placement does not exceed half of the total length of the course undertaken in the UK except where it is a United Kingdom statutory requirement that the placement should exceed half the total length of the course.

(5) employment as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer, for up to 2 years, provided the post is elective and is at the institution which is the applicant’s Sponsor.

(6) employment as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme.

There now exists a raft of Immigration Rules for non-EU students, which differ according to when their visas were granted and what type of student visa they hold.

For instance, there are still some students hold the old pre-Tier 4 student visa and the guidance for Tier 4 visa students in the UK and wishing to change education provider vary before and after October 2009.

The government have made a number of changes to the Rules related to student visas and Tier 4 sponsors, with private colleges being gradually squeezed out in favour of government funded colleges and universities.

The latest Immigration Rules will ‘radically alter the balance between private and government providers’, with UK Universities seeing a ‘major boost in non-EU student admissions’, say free placement service provider UK University Services (UKUS).

See also: 

Student visa changes now Law after being laid before Parliament today

UK student visa restrictions announced by Home Secretary

Post Study Work Visa to be abolished April 2012 as part of student visa clampdown

University has Tier 4 licence suspended

Free service launched to help overseas students study at UK Universities

If you would like more information on the studying at a UK University or college email joanna or call 0208 905 1822.

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: 

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

Still confused?

Bison UK are offering free advice to student visa holders on the new Tier 4 changes and renewal options.

Spread the Word, like or share this page, your friends will also love it and thanks for it.

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48 Responses to “New Tier 4 Student Visa rules implemented 21 April 2011, but will students applying to private colleges be allowed to work?”
Read them below or add one

  1. m.ashrafi@ymail.com'

    Hi, I am Mohsen.
    I have a problem. My visa will expired on 13/04/2013, my postgraduate study will start at 24/09/2013. Can I extend my visa in the UK, since there is a gap which more than one month?
    My curent Visa is Tier4 Student.
    Thanks for your help

  2. akmnuman1@gmail.com'

    i m in uk about 3 years and i ve copleted level 7,so how can i stay another 7 years as a student?
    how long we can continue in same course/

  3. abulkhoyer.md786@yahoo.com'

    ukba should make a stable rule for international students for at least five years,then students can go ahead according their target.
    i think they need more knowledge for the study bcoz they r making problem for students,it seems they r crazy.

  4. iabu88@hotmail.co.uk'
    iabu88@hotmail.co.uk'abdul hamid says :

    it is a stupidity law that a masters level student cant work for experience if they study in a college.my question is that is the education minister enough knoledgeable about the study?

  5. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    You can use a UK based company e.g. http://www.uk-universityservices.co.uk/ or an immigration adviser such as Bison UK for advice.

  6. jenni_sting@hotmail.co.uk'


    M student of university college Birmingham.
    my cousin is in india, he want to do study in health ns care course from england but i dn,t have knowledge regarding this course because m studding hospitality business mang. and its hard to trust in india on agents so can you suggest me A grade college and he want to come in diploma coz after he want to go back to india.
    according my my knowledge diploma student do not hve right to do work even not 10 hrs but some agent told him that he can do 10 hrs work. so i really dn”t want him in troble. can you help me in this matter


  7. prabin.sth@hotmail.com'
    prabin.sth@hotmail.com'prabin shrestha says :

    hi i’m prabin from nepal. i n my spouce are trying to apply for dependant visa. i want a full description about the current rules so that i can do as the requirements. hope u’ll give us all the records.



  9. Jass-mann2012@hotmail.co.uk'
    Jass-mann2012@hotmail.co.uk'jaspreet says :

    i m applying for student visa i have 5.5 ielts band overall i m applying in uni bedforeshire they applying me pre sessional english course can i need to attach addtionally english requrement 5.5 each in a file

  10. […] New Tier 4 Student Visa rules implemented 21 April 2011, but will students applying to private colle… […]

  11. manoja8@yahoo.com'
    manoja8@yahoo.com'manoja says :

    If i had 10 year band student uk visa can i apply student dependent visa.

  12. […] The Home Secretary announced changes to the Immigration Rules in a statement to Parliament on 22 March, which follow the first set of changes on 21 April. […]

  13. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    Following changes on 4 July 2011, work permission for students will only be granted for higher level courses at government owned colleges and universities.

    See: New Tier 4 student visa rules now in force


  14. faizanmazhar@hotmail.co.uk'
    faizanmazhar@hotmail.co.uk'faizan mazhar says :

    hello, i came here 31/08/011 on student general viza…i have no work permission….im living with uncle…i want work permission…my other friends have allowed work

  15. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    Difficult to answer your question without seeing all the papers. Have you contacted the UKBA or will your college help you? Otherwise you may need to see an immigration adviser.

  16. salmanpatel78@hotmail.com'
    salmanpatel78@hotmail.com'salman says :

    i get the visa under tier 4(genal)student in publically funded college but work permission is not allow can u plz tell me what is the reason my college is publically funded and work permission is 0 hour why?plz answer me my college said this ukba problem and my college send me a later and told submit this later in mbc so is it possible?

  17. lakha_3011@yahoo.com'
    lakha_3011@yahoo.com'sandeep says :

    how many ielts band score are required(overall and individual) for the extension of the level 7, tier 4 student visa

  18. kimholden@hotmail.co.uk'

    Just noticed none of the students above ( who are supposed to be studying in UK, some even doing a masters degree allegedly!) can write in English, that proves my point! I also forgot to add, there are hundreds of doctors and dentist from Indian Sub continent and Africa come here to do so called studies, whilst their motive is to take the plab exams and practise in UK as doctors and dentists.We can all go and figure out!

  19. kimholden@hotmail.co.uk'
    kimholden@hotmail.co.uk'Kim Holden says :

    Well said Ann Brown! UK is not benefiting anything from foreign students who come from risk countries ( ie Indian Sub continent, some countries in South East Asia) they come with practically no money, having inflated their bank account borrowing money for 3 months, having enough in their bank balance to fool the visa officer to obtain their visa, they come to UK, with no money and automatically start working more than they are allowed to ( with no proper checks, many of them go years working illegally, and staying here illegally even after their visas cancelled by the education provider who sponsored them in the first place!) if anything they take jobs, are burden on the NHS ( yes the healthcare is free for every foreign student in case no one knew!)they switch from one course to another ( whilst working illegally!) with the blessings of the UKBA, just to prolong their stay in UK, then find a loophole settle, bring their wives/husbands/parents..no wonder UK is in a state that it is, wake up UKBA and wake up British people foreign students ( except the ones that come from developed and wealthy countries and are here for education purposes only!) don’t bring money, if anything they take what’s already in the pot, they come to share what we all have, jobs, healthcare, education and the welfare system. They buy a dream when they pay for their so called courses, and they are no different than people who are smuggled into this country under lorries ( those people pay as much money as the students!),the only difference is the “students” come with a visa in their passports, issued by a British visa officer from his comfortable office in an overseas mission with no moral duty to find out if the person they are issuing the visa is genuine, merely because he/she can’t be bothered, and because the applicant meets the silly ” point system”, without even having to see or speak to the applicant! UKBA did not become more difficult on foreign students, on the contrary became too easy ( you have to check other developed nations Border agencies ie US or Australian- to see how easy to get a visa for UK, work illegally unnoticed, and disappear when needed without authorities finding you!) , and with at least 8000 students who went aol currently in UK, and became the statistics for illegal immigrants, this country will continue to be a soft target for people who want a life in UK, NO MATTER WHAT!

  20. t_naveed786@hotmail.com'
    t_naveed786@hotmail.com'tabassam says :

    hello sir,
    i have a question for you.i m doing diploma in business management but my visa is going to finished.and i m fail in two subject and i want reappear in these subjects. but my question is that do i need to have ielts if i need visa for reappear in those subjects?plz reply me on my e mail
    thank you

  21. hero_math84@yahoo.com'

    for renew visa for studying postgraduate,what score is requiring? and how many day befor finishing our visa we must demand for renewing visa in uk.

  22. Rvuf113@live.rhul.ac.uk'
    Rvuf113@live.rhul.ac.uk'Yang yang says :

    Hi, I am yang.
    I have a problem. My visa will expired on 10/08/2011, my postgraduate study will start at 19/09/2011. Can I extend my visa in the uk, since there is a gap which more than one month?
    Thanks for your help

  23. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    Google UKBA website where there is a reporting section.

  24. […] The Home Secretary announced changes to the Immigration Rules in a statement to Parliament on 22 March, which follow the first set of changes on 21 April. […]

  25. sahi_mandeep@Yahoo.co.in'
    sahi_mandeep@Yahoo.co.in'mandeep says :

    i m studing in pg dip in hospitality and management.iwant to ask if i will finish my MBA after april 2012 then i m eligigible for PSW or not.

  26. arpita1376@yahoo.com'

    i want to complain about student who is working in shop , store , caffi house , cafe , resturant ,branded store , like synsbury , tesco , co operative food ,pharmacompany , where house ,food company,etc
    i have store locatation & student name who is not going single day in college,& he/ she can do work more then 20- 40 -60 h/per week, so pl give me a perfect e mail or contact no

  27. asad_1987@hotmail.com'
    asad_1987@hotmail.com'asad waqar says :

    my question is a student of level 4 diploma can get the work permit or he can change his visa into work permit

  28. […] New Tier 4 Student Visa rules implemented 21 April 2011, but will students applying to private colle… […]

  29. mzahirjarral@hotmail.com'

    I always thinking all problems which we have to face due to our country’s corrupt Government. If those countries supose pakistan’s govt. and policies are good and they can recognise their youth, then we no need to leave counties and suffer these tough polices.. corrupt Govt. is enjoying and we are people who have to face problems migration and tough policies..

  30. julieumlas@yahoo.com'
    julieumlas@yahoo.com'JULIE ANNE PENA says :

    are non degree on non foundation degreee courses students in HTS allowed to bring dependants? are they going to take ielts as well and allowed to work?

  31. donna.rudd@rocketmail.com'
    donna.rudd@rocketmail.com'ann brown says :

    If you don’t like the new rules you can always leave, the country is over populated and we have enough poor here we have schools where there are 96 different language spoken. We needs skilled and rich people not people would get citizenship by being in this country for a long time via the student only to work has a cleaner or caterer etc if you are coming to study then you should not have a problem with the new rules. And not every immigrant helps the economy some are stain on the system we have enough of those kind of people in the UK already. with the new benefits system coming into place UK people and those from wherever else days who do not wish to work so come to the UK days are numbered!

  32. […] clampdown on working hours for students is also having an effect on care home staffing levels and new Tier 4 student visa rules to be implemented in July will not help the […]

  33. sallyrxs@yahoo.com'

    UK Border is always changing it’s rules with regards to Student visa but I think they must also do more research to some students about their real status here because each students here have different circumstances. Well I understand why they do that but I’ll just ask a question here.

    How come students will find a job that is related to their course of study for 10 hours a week and is allowed to have a minimum wage?
    With todays recession and job cut offs. Most employers don’t accept students because of limited hours of work.

    So in that case some students will do part time jobs on a cash in hand basis or may force them to do illegal things so do you think it would bring a lot of good in UK in terms of tax?

    To think of it, you can’t blame students for doing that because especially if they live in some places in UK with a high cost of living like London.

    Some students quite unhappy and may just want to return home and may discourage other people who want to apply in UK as a Student. Hope UK Border may do something about this.

  34. laye.manish@gmail.com'

    I am graduate & having ielts 5 bands overall.
    I had previously applied for LEVEL 7 but my college coms out from tier 4sponsers list then i withdrawn my file.

    Please guide me , if i apply now at level 5 with my spouse as on 26 may2011. is he will get entry in uk , if we get visa after 1st july 2011.

    Please guide me brifly, that my change of level will effect my application or not.

    IMPORTANT : i have to summit my old funing or i can show my different funding

  35. nainkhan65@yahoo.com'
    nainkhan65@yahoo.com'zulqarnain khan says :

    i have recieved admission letter for the course msc in public health from university of bedford shire, luton campus, uk, before 21 april. i have ielts bands 5.5 overall and 5,5,5 each and 6 in speaking.university has given me the presessional for sex weeks.what would be my admission status as for as new policy cocerned.

  36. kavita_shalu@rediffmail.com'

    My question is related to IELTS.
    I’m a graducate from uk and after 5 yrs planning to study master again in U.K. Currently, I’m holding unconditional offer letter that does not ask for IELTS score. Do I have to write IELTS? Pretty confuse if its mandatory for visa processing. Pls note- I live in India.

  37. […] New Tier 4 Student Visa rules implemented 21 April 2011, but will students applying to private colle… […]

  38. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    You could email this new service:

    UK University Services (UKUS) is an online portal to thousands of courses, from vocational to MBA, in the UK and other countries such as Australia and Canada.

    UKUS is a free University and College Admissions and Advice Service based in London, UK.

    Since they are retained by Universities, both in the UK and around the world, their services are completely free to students.

    Applying directly to a university or college in a foreign country is not always easy. They can help.

    The UKUS team has a wealth of experience in providing advice to students wanting to study on campus at universities and colleges or online by distance learning.

    There are a huge variety of courses available in Britain. These range from short programmes suitable for student visitor visa holders – such as a 4 week Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course – to 1 year vocational (NVQ/QCF) and Management Diploma courses, right up to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and beyond.

    Immigration Rules differ from country to country and change frequently. The UK has recently introduced an Australian-style points-based system. Non-EU students applying to study in the UK for longer than six months need to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa and score 40 points.

    However, students who want to come to the UK in order to do a short course of study during their visit, can simply apply to do so as a ‘student visitor’.

    Here are just some of the free services UKUS can provide:

    • Advice to overseas students on finding the right course for them at a UK University
    • Advice to all students on finding the right course for them at Universities around the world
    • Guidance on requirements and filling in application forms for University courses
    • Help on where to obtain information on Student Visas and other Immigration Advice
    • Guidance on who to contact about working whilst studying
    • Advice on who to contact about working after study

    Students interested in studying abroad can complete the Online UKUS Registration Form for more details.

  39. razaawais76@yahoo.com'
    razaawais76@yahoo.com'awais raza says :

    bad thing

  40. ksravanagowri@gmail.com'
    ksravanagowri@gmail.com'Sravana gowri says :


    I have applied for the MBA course in Oxford college of London and recently received Conditional offer letter. This is a Grade A trusted college and as the VISA rules are changed i am bit confused weather i get the VISA or not so can u please say weather i get the visa if i apply for this college, and if i get the visa how many hours work permit do i get. Please reply me as early as possible, so that i can start my processing.

    Thanks & Regards,

  41. […] the UK, the current level of anxiety over new student visa restrictions reveals how much universities have come to depend on the income from overseas […]


    the law has tightened up and at the same time puts the students in a dilemma. on the other hand there is no need for a sponsor and on the other hand you can not work so that you can supplement your fees. while it is good to safeguard jobs and to weed out bogus students it is surely heavy handed to limit working to twenty hours even if it is term time. this new rule is vindictive and should be challenged.

  43. idowujackson@ymail.com'
    idowujackson@ymail.com'Idowu jackson says :

    As an international student in the UK, if you are not carefull one can easily become hypertensive or mentally
    deranged. They keep on bringing new rules that makes you confused. what is even special about this country that everyone wants to come.Instead of the rulers to direct their energy towards that culture of benefit that have destroyed so many lives, they keep on running after foreigners and students that are sustaining their economy for them.And while foreighners are busy working, you find their youths lazying away their lives and waiting for Friday to collect thier benefit. I weep for this country in advance.

  44. […] system. Non-EU students applying to study in the UK for longer than six months need to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa and score 40 […]

  45. […] New Tier 4 Student Visa rules implemented 21 April 2011 […]

  46. […] New Tier 4 Student Visa rules implemented 21 April 2011 […]

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