Helena Sheizon
Helena Sheizon

UKBA announces amendments to immigration rules affecting Tier 4 (General) Students coming into effect on July 4, 2011

Restricted permission to work for students:

  • Students sponsored by a higher education institution (defined as a Recognised Body and or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution from the Department of Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales or the Scottish Funding Council) undertaking study at degree level or above will be able to work 20 hours per week during term time and full time during vacations;
  • Students sponsored by a higher education institution undertaking study below degree level will be able to work 10 hours per week during term time, and full time during vacations;
  • Students sponsored by a publicly funded further education college undertaking a course of study at any academic level will be able to work 10 hours per week during term time, and full time during vacations; and
  • Other students will not be granted permission to work at any time.

Restricted entitlement of students to bring dependants:

  • New students sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at level NQF 7 / QCF 7 / SQCF 11 or above lasting 12 months or more will be allowed to sponsor their dependants.
  • New students will be allowed to bring dependants where they are sponsored to study in the UK by the UK Government or another national government on a course that is longer than six months.
  • The dependants of these students will be able to work, subject to the existing restrictions in the Rules.
  • Dependants of students with existing entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK will be able to stay in the UK in line with the duration of their leave and any conditions imposed upon it. Dependants with existing leave wishing to extend their stay will be able to do so subject to existing restrictions, provided they apply at the same time as the Tier 4 (General) Student applies to continue their studies, and within three months of the expiry of their existing leave. Provision is also made to allow for grants of entry clearance to be made where children born to a Tier 4 (General) Student during a period of leave are  seeking to enter or re-enter the UK (children born in the UK in these circumstances are not required to obtain leave to remain).

UKBA publishes a list of low-risk nationalities who will enjoy simplified Tier 4 application process

  • Students of designated low-risk nationalities attending courses at Highly Trusted Sponsors will not routinely have to present the specified documents at the application stage in respect of their maintenance funds or educational qualifications, although we reserve the right to ask to see those documents.  These low risk countries are:
    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • British National Overseas
    • Brunei
    • Canada
    • Chile
    • Croatia
    • Hong Kong
    • Japan
    • New Zealand
    • Singapore
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan (those who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan)
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • United States of America

Other changes include:

  • Where a student is applying for entry clearance or leave to remain in order to take a further course of study, sponsors will have to vouch that the student is making genuine academic progress.  This will not preclude students from undertaking courses at the same level where this will develop the breadth or depth of their learning, nor prevent those undertaking re-sits or transferring from one institution to another.
  • Students and their dependants will have to declare at the application stage that they hold and will continue to hold the required maintenance funds to cover their course fees and living costs, and that these funds will remain available to them to support themselves in the UK while they study and to pay for their course.
  • No points will be awarded for maintenance where the specified documents show that the funds are held in a financial institution with which the UK Border Agency is unable to make satisfactory verification checks.  A list of financial institutions which do not satisfactorily verify financial statements will be published on the UK Border Agency website.
  • Students following “study abroad programmes” at overseas higher education institutions with bases in the UK will be treated in line with UK higher education institutions with respect to permission to work during their stay in the UK.  These institutions must obtain confirmation from UK NARIC of their overseas accreditation and that they offer degrees equivalent to UK degrees and they teach no more than half of a degree programme in the UK as a study abroad programme. These institutions will also be removed from the Tier 4 interim limit on the allocation of Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies provided they obtain Highly Trusted Sponsor Status.
  • If a Sponsor requires approval at a specified level from a relevant awarding organisation in order to be able to deliver a course that leads to an approved qualification to international students under Tier 4, the Sponsor must have that approval at the specified level in order for points to be awarded.

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