New Student Visa Policy 2011 has been announced for April 2011 and onward; there is true copy of the statement Produced by UK Border Agency; for further assistance you mail ; [email protected] and in Pakistan you may call at 0300-4700092 ;
Statement of intent and transitional measures March 2011 student visas statement of intent and transitional measures March 2011
On 22 March 2011, the Home Secretary announced the Government’s plans to make changes to Tier 4 (Students) and Tier 1 (Post Study Work) of the points-based system. These changes will be introduced over a period of time in order
to allow the sectors time to adjust.
This Statement provides information on how the new arrangements will operate. We are publishing it now to help ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption to sponsors’ recruitment plans and student decision making.
The first round of implementation, including interim measures, will be made by laying changes to the Immigration Rules before Parliament on 31 March which will come into effect on 21 April 2011. There will be further changes to the Immigration Rules taking effect in summer 2011, in April 2012 and by the end of 2012.
The measures outlined in this Statement should not be seen as a definitive account of the requirements that will apply in future. The definitive version will be set out in the Immigration Rules and published formal Guidance for Tier 4 sponsors and applicants. The Statement does, however, represent the Government’s current intentions.
The Government will review the impact of the changes and, if necessary, make further changes in order to meet its objectives of tackling abuse of the student route and reducing net migration to sustainable levels.
We will phase in changes to the rules in order to give providers and students time to plan accordingly. In addition, 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 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 ccreditation 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).
• We will tighten the English language
requirements for Tier 4 (General) students:
-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
-A student may be refused a visa or entry to
the UK if he cannot speak English without assistance.
• We shall 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.
1 in this document “higher education institution” means a recognised Body (i.e. an institution which has been granted degree awarding powers by either a royal Charter, act of Parliament or the Privy Council), or a body in receipt of funding as a higher education institution from the department for employment and learning in northern ireland, the Higher education funding Council of england, the Higher education
funding Council of Wales, or the scottish funding Council.
Changes from July 2011
• Sponsors will have to vouch for academic progression for students changing course, where the new course is not a step up the NQF/ QCF / SCQF scale.
• Students will have to declare at the visa application stage that they hold and will
continue to hold the required maintenance funds to support themselves and pay for their course. We shall publish local lists of financial institutions with whom we are unable to verify financial statements to our satisfaction.
• Students of designated low-risk nationalities attending courses at Highly Trusted Sponsors will not routinely have to present the specified documents at the visa application stage in respect of their maintenance funds or educational qualifications, although we reserve the right to ask to see the evidence.
• We will restrict permission to work during studies for new students, so that only students at higher education institutions and publicly funded further education colleges can do so, retaining their current entitlements.
• We will only allow new students studying at a higher education institution on a course on NQF 7 / QCF 7 / SQCF 11 or above lasting 12 months or more to sponsor their dependants.
The dependants will be able to work.
Changes from april 2012
• All sponsors must have acquired HTS status.
• We will extend the interim limit in respect of those existing sponsors who have acquired HTS status but not met the new educational accreditation requirements.
• Courses offering work placements will have to have a study:work ratio of 66:33 except at higher education institutions.
• We will set a maximum time of five years in Tier 4 studying at degree level and above, with exceptions for some courses and PhD students.
• We will close the Tier 1 Post Study Work Route but allow switching into Tier 2 as
• We will make provision for student entrepreneurs.
Changes from end of 2012
• All sponsors have to meet the new educational accreditation criteria to be able
to sponsor new students.
Tier 4 child category
We shall review in due course the provisions applying to child students, with a view to possible tightening of institutions’ eligibility to sponsor child students and also relaxation of certain current rules.
We will introduce new requirements to ensure a high standard of education at sponsoring institutions and of immigration compliance.
In general the sponsors who have given rise to difficulty in terms of suspended and revoked licences are those who are not subject to the inspection regimes applying to publicly-funded institutions and to the independent schools, and those who are not Highly Trusted Sponsors.
Therefore we shall make these requirements the norm in order for sponsors to gain and keep a licence as a Tier 4 sponsor. From the end of 2012, existing sponsors that are not able to meet all the requirements will not be able to sponsor new students. New sponsors will only be admitted to the register if they meet the new accreditation requirements.
From 21 April 2011, in order to obtain a license new sponsors must show that they have a current and satisfactory full inspection or audit by one of the bodies listed below:
• Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education;
• Ofsted (England);
• Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of
• Estyn (Wales);
• Education and Training Inspectorate
• The Bridge Schools Inspectorate (England);
• Schools Inspection Service (England);
• Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) (England).
We shall announce in due course a date by which
existing sponsors who do not meet the above
requirement must apply to the relevant body.
If they do not do so they will lose the ability to
sponsor new students.
We will consider further the eligibility of overseas
higher education providers, which have campuses
in the UK, where they are required to undergo
inspection, accreditation or review in order to
operate within their home country. It is envisaged
that such providers would be able to continue
offering study abroad programmes to their students,
where they are following a course equivalent to UK
degree level or above, and are spending no more
than half the total length of the course in the UK.
uK Border agency-approved
For privately funded providers of further education,
higher education and English language courses
the UK Border Agency has previously recognised
accreditation offered by five bodies as acceptable
for granting a Tier 4 sponsor licence. These private
accreditation bodies are:
• Accreditation UK;
• The Accreditation Service for British Language
• The Accreditation Service for International
• The British Accreditation Council (BAC); and
• The Church of England Inspectorate –
The UK Border Agency had arrangements with
these providers for a period of two years, which
have now lapsed in four cases and in the fifth, due
to lapse in May 2011. The UK Border Agency
does not intend to renew these arrangements for
the purpose of Tier 4. The new requirements set
out above will apply. Therefore, subject to the
transitional period set out below, accreditation by
one of the private accreditation bodies will no
longer be sufficient to meet the criteria for entry
onto the register of sponsors. Providers not yet
on the register of sponsors who have received
accreditation from one of the private accrediting
bodies will, providing they meet all other criteria,
be eligible for a Tier 4 licence provided they apply
to the UK Border Agency before 21 April 2011,
or in the case of education providers accredited by
the Church of England Ministry Division, 10 May
During the transitional period, any sponsor who
was accredited by a private accrediting body and
whose accreditation lapses will continue to be able
to sponsor new students, provided they meet the
other requirements such as applying to the relevant
public accrediting body by the date to be specified,
obtaining HTS status in time, and not having their
licence suspended or revoked.
Accreditation from the private accrediting bodies
will still be acceptable for:
• providers that cater for student visitors and
child visitors who study (even if not a Tier 4
• private providers of courses in English for
Speakers of Other Language for the purpose of
applying for settlement and citizenship.
immigration compliance – highly trusted
From the launch of Tier 4, sponsors have been
rated ‘A’ or ‘B’ according to their level of compliance
with immigration criteria. In 2010 a new Highly
Trusted Sponsor licence was introduced, which
required sponsors to demonstrate a higher level of
compliance with the Tier 4 requirements. These
higher requirements should become the norm.
Therefore from April 2012, we will require that all
sponsors are Highly Trusted.
By summer 2011, we shall review the current
HTS criteria to see how they can be improved in
the light of experience, to ensure that policy and
enforcement objectives are being met. We will
publish revised criteria (if any) as soon as possible.
We will consult with the sectors to draw up the
During the transitional year, as currently, only HTS
will be able to offer NQF 3/QCF 3/SQCF 6 level
courses, and NQF 4 & 5/QCF 4 & 5/SCQF 7 & 8
courses containing work placements.
Education providers applying for the first time
to register as sponsors, or to re-register following
a licence revocation, will be granted a licence
that allows them to issue a limited number of
CAS based on their capacity. This will enable
them to sponsor students and so demonstrate
a commitment to complying with immigration
requirements. After a year new sponsors will
have to meet the full immigration compliance
requirements; failure to meet the HTS criteria at
that point will result in the suspension of their
licence and a restriction on the ability to sponsor
From April 2012, where a sponsor does not have or
falls below the HTS standard, we will restrict their
ability to sponsor new students. They will only be
able to issue CAS to allow current students to be
able to complete their original course.
Sponsors who, under the previous criteria, are
downgraded to a ‘B’ rating will be prevented from
sponsoring additional students.
If a sponsor has their licence revoked, we will
refuse any application for a new licence until April
2012 or for a minimum period of six months,
whichever is sooner. For revocations after April
2012, there must be at least six months between
the date of the licence revocation and the new
application, in order to enable the sponsor to
address the concerns that led to the revocation.
In view of their lower risk and proven track
record of compliance, independent schools will
be automatically accorded HTS status. We will
not impose the full burden of HTS requirements
on independent schools or charge the associated
fee for the first year. They will continue to be able
to sponsor pupils from overseas under the Tier 4
(Child) category, and automatic qualification for
HTS licences will allow them to sponsor those
pupils who need to make an initial application
or application for further leave under the Tier
4 (General) category. We will consider how
independent schools can qualify for HTS status
from April 2012 onward, ensuring processes are
proportionate to the low level of immigration risk.
transitional arrangements and
Recognising that existing sponsors will require some
time to meet the new educational accreditation and
HTS requirements, they will be able to continue to
sponsor new students during the transitional period
to the end of 2012, provided they:
(a) apply for accreditation and HTS within
timescales to be announced;
(b) do not otherwise have their licence suspended
or revoked or downgraded to B status; and
(c) obtain HTS status by April 2012.
Those with an accreditation from the private
accrediting bodies which lapses during the
transitional period will be able to continue to
sponsor new students if they meet the other
conditions set out above.
It is anticipated that some existing licensed
sponsors will not be able to meet the new
requirements in due course. We must ensure that
the ability to sponsor new students during the
transitional period is not abused, resulting in a large
number of students at legacy sponsors. Therefore
in the transitional period we will limit the number
of CAS available to those sponsors who do not
fully meet the requirements and encourage careful
usage of those CAS by the sponsor.
As soon as a sponsor is able to show they meet the
new requirements we will remove this limit.
There is no overall limit on the number of CAS that
can be allocated to sponsors affected by the limit
during the transitional period. Any sponsor that
falls within the scope of the limit will have their
CAS allocation reduced and limited in accordance
with the calculation set out below.
From 21 April, for sponsors that do not already
meet the new requirements we will limit their
allocation of CAS to be the same as the number of
CAS they issued which were “used and approved”
between 1 March 2010 and 28 February 2011, i.e.
those CAS which were both assigned and resulted
in an approved application for entry clearance or
leave to remain during that period. This will be the
full allocation of CAS for the period until April
2012. This allocation will be for new students
coming to the UK and also for those who may
require a CAS in order to make an application to
extend their leave and complete a course.
Any CAS assigned to a prospective student before
21 April 2011 will be valid1 for use in making an
entry clearance or leave to remain application.
The prospective student will also need to meet the
requirements in force on the date the application
was made. Any CAS allocated to a sponsor but not
assigned to a prospective student by 21 April 2011
will be cancelled.
From April 2012 all education providers, including
those currently on the register, who want to
sponsor new students will have to achieve HTS
status. Those that have not achieved HTS status
will be given a CAS allocation of zero. Those who
have obtained HTS status, but do not meet the new
criteria on educational oversight we will apply a
limit to their CAS allocation based on the number
“used and approved” in the period April 2011 to
1 Provided it was assigned in accordance with the rules and
guidance in place when it was assigned.
By the end of 2012 all education providers,
including those currently on the register, who want
to sponsor new students will have to meet the new
requirements on educational oversight. Sponsors
who do not have HTS status as of April 2012 or
do not meet criteria on educational oversight by the
end of 2012 will become legacy sponsors who can
keep their existing students but not sponsor new
ones (provided their licence is not suspended or
revoked for other reasons).
Existing students at these legacy sponsors from
April 2012 who at that time have not completed
their course will be able to continue their courses,
provided they continue to meet the requirements
of their leave and the sponsor continues to comply
with their duties in relation to their students. Where
a student requires an extension to complete a
course or to re-sit an exam, the sponsor will have
to ask for an exceptional CAS by contacting the
Sponsor Management Unit. Normally, only one
extension will be granted per student.
Where we revoke a licence or a sponsor ceases
operation, students will have 60 days to find another
sponsor offering the same or similar course, leading
to a similar qualification. Legacy sponsors will be
able to apply for exceptional CAS to take over
sponsorship of such students. Leave will only be
granted to allow these students to complete the
sponsorship requirements summary
• existing sponsors meeting new requirements on
both accreditation and Hts status
• no restriction on Cas allocation.
• new sponsors meeting new requirements
• Granted licence, but with Cas allocation limited
• must achieve Hts status within 12 months to be
able to continue to sponsor new students
• existing sponsors meeting new requirements on
accreditation but not Hts
• must obtain Hts status by april 2012
• interim limit on Cas allocation.
• existing sponsors with hts status but not meeting
new accreditation requirements
• must obtain new accreditation by the end of 2012.
• interim limit on Cas allocation.
• existing sponsors not meeting new requirements on
either accreditation and Hts status
• must obtain Hts status by april 2012.
• must obtain new accreditation by the end of 2012.
• interim limit on Cas allocation
• any sponsor – licence downgraded to B rating. •
not able to sponsor new students.
• any sponsor – licence suspended. •
not able to sponsor new students.
• any sponsor – licence revoked. •
existing students have 60 days to find
association of chartered certified
accountants (acca) course providers
Where a sponsor is offering courses from the
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants we
will require that the sponsor is an ACCA2 Approved
Learning Partner offering student tuition at either
“Gold” or “Platinum” level.
We will allow education providers to provide
courses where they are working in partnership with
a Tier 4 sponsor, but we will require the licensed
sponsor to take responsibility by sponsoring the
students directly by issuing CAS.
These arrangements will for example accommodate
short pre-sessional courses prior to study at a higher
education institution or independent school, longer
pre-higher education “pathway” and international
foundation year courses and other courses
organised through partnerships between education
Where the level of immigration compliance of
students studying with the partner provider is found
to be below the required standard this will have an
impact on the rating of the licensed sponsor and
directly impact their ability to sponsor international
students for all courses.
2 for further details regarding the levels of aCCa approval please
english language reQuirement
We will strengthen the current requirements on
English language competence in Tier 4 (General).
We will require that when a sponsor issues a CAS
for any student commencing a course, they will
have to confirm that the student is competent to
an appropriate level. This requirement will apply
for CAS issued after 21 April 2011, whether to be
used by an entirely new applicant overseas or in
the UK, as well as existing students applying for an
extension of leave to remain.
As now, Tier 4 (Child) students will not be subject
to an English language test requirement.
level of course
For all students following courses at NQF 6/
QCF 6/SCQF 9 and above, the required level
of English will be a minimum of level B2 on the
Common European Framework of Reference
for Languages (CEFR) in each of the four
components of language learning (reading, writing,
listening and speaking). Students not attending
a higher education institution will be required to
demonstrate this through the provision of a Secure
English Language Test (SELT) certificate, which
is within its validity date at the date of the Tier 4
application, from one of a limited number of test
providers approved by the UK Border Agency. The
list of approved providers will be published, and
will indicate for each provider the minimum score
required which equates to B2.
We will allow higher education institutions to
choose their own method of assessing the English
language competence at B2 level for their students
studying at NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 and above.
For students following courses between NQF 3/
QCF 3/SCQF 6 and NQF 5/QCF 5/SCQF 8
and English language courses, the required level
of English will be a minimum of CEFR level B1.
All students at this level, regardless of the status
of their sponsor institution, will be required to
demonstrate this through the provision of a
recent SELT certificate which is within its validity
date when the student applies under Tier 4. We
will end some of the current exemptions and
therefore apply this requirement where students
are undertaking foundation degrees , pre-sessional
and pathway courses before a degree course and
for students coming to study English as a foreign
language under Tier 4 at CEFR level B2 and above.
english as a foreign language
Students who want to come to the UK to learn
English as a foreign language at a level below
CEFR B2 will be able to do so through the
extended student visitor visa launched on 10
January 2011, which allows study on courses of up
to 11 months which are exclusively to learn English
as a foreign language.
We will also allow exemptions from the requirement
for the production of Secure English Language
Test certificates for:
• students moving from Tier 4 (Child) into Tier
4 (General) who have completed a course of
study of at least six months duration;
• those who have completed a qualification
equivalent to a UK degree which was taught in
a majority English-speaking country (including
degrees taught in the UK); and
• those who are nationals of a majority English-
The majority English-speaking countries are:
• Antigua and Barbuda;
• The Bahamas;
• New Zealand;
• St Kitts and Nevis;
• St Lucia;
• St Vincent and the Grenadines;
• Trinidad and Tobago; and
• United States of America.
gifted students at higher
We accept that in very rare cases, a higher education
institution will want to offer a place to a gifted
student who does not meet the B2 requirement
and where a requirement to attend a pre-sessional
course is inappropriate. In such cases we shall
accept a CAS where the academic registrar has
indicated this to be the case in the free text field
on the CAS form and has provided the student
with an appropriate letter. We expect such cases to
be exceptional and not to be used as a means of
admitting average students who do not meet the
student visas statement of intent and transitional measures
tier 4 (General) english language requirement summary
• students moving from the tier 4 (Child) into tier 4
• those who have completed a qualification equivalent
to a uK degree which was taught in a majority
english-speaking country; and
• nationals of a majority english-speaking country.
students following courses between nQf 3/QCf 3/
sCQf 6 and nQf 5/QCf 5/sCQf 8 including:
• foundation degrees;
• pathway courses;
• pre-sessional courses;
• english as a foreign language at Cefr level B2.
Valid selt certificate at B1 level.
non-higher education institution students following
courses at nQf 6/QCf 6/sCQf 9 and above.
Valid selt certificate at B2 level.
Higher education institution students following courses
at nQf 6/QCf 6/sCQf 9 and above.
Confirmation from higher education institution that the
student is competent to B2 level; or
Confirmation from the sponsor that an exemption
should apply on the basis that the student is
uK Border agency checKs
From 21 April 2011 we will introduce a rule that
students must be able to demonstrate they can
speak English to the required standard (B1 or B2),
if interviewed by a UK Border Agency officer. The
officer will not judge whether level B1 or B2 has
been obtained. He will test whether the student can
hold a simple conversation without an interpreter.
If they cannot, then clearly the required level has
not been attained. This will be applicable whether
or not the student has been required to present a
SELT certificate. We will not, however, routinely
Where we have interviewed a student and we find
they cannot speak English without assistance, we may
refuse the visa application or entry to the UK. Refusals
will require confirmation from a senior officer.
The current rules on pre-sessional courses are too
broad, allowing students to obtain a grant of leave
to cover both a long pre-sessional course and a
main course, and giving them an exemption from
our English language requirements.
Any CAS issued after 21 April 2011 will only be
able to cover a single course, either a pre-sessional
or a main course. We will make an exception for
students attending a pre-sessional course prior to a
course at a higher education institution where:
• the pre-sessional course is no more than 3
• there is an unconditional offer to proceed to the
• the main course starts within one month of the
end of the pre-sessional; and
• the main course is at degree level or above.
We will also make an exception for students
attending a pre-sessional course prior to studying at
independent schools where:
• there is an unconditional offer of a place at the
• the duration of the pre-sessional course plus the
period of study at the independent school does
not exceed the maximum period of leave that
can be granted under the Tier 4 (Child) rules.
If these criteria are met a single CAS may cover
both courses. Those intending to proceed to higher
education institution study must show that they
meet the English language requirement for study at
NQF 5/QCF 5/SCQF 8 or below i.e. B1, before
they can start the pre-sessional. We expect they will
have reached B2 standard before proceeding to the
In all other cases, leave will initially only be granted
for the first course and a new CAS and a further
application for leave will be required in order
to progress to study on the second course. This
application may be made either overseas or from
within the UK. Students going on to degree
level study will have to meet the higher B2
English language requirement as set out in the
evidence of student funding
From summer 2011 we will revise our requirements
regarding the evidence a student must provide
to show they can support themselves and their
dependants whilst they are studying in the UK.
Currently students are required to show they have
the specified funds available to them for 28 days
prior to making an entry clearance application.
There have, however, been cases where the student
no longer holds the funds when the entry clearance
application is being considered or on arrival in
We will add a declaration to the application form
so that the student must confirm that the funds
are genuinely available for the purpose of funding
their study and upkeep in the UK. Where we have
concerns regarding the student’s ability to maintain
and accommodate themselves without recourse to
public funds or working in the UK, either when
considering an application or on arrival in the UK,
we shall check to confirm that funds continue to
be available or that they have been spent to fund
course fees or living expenses.
For the purpose of verifying maintenance funds,
we shall maintain lists of financial institutions
that we consider, on the basis of experience, do
not verify financial statements to our satisfaction.
Where we have a reasonable doubt about the
declared funds and therefore would normally verify
with the financial institution, we shall award no
points and the application will be refused. Lists of
these institutions will be published on the relevant
sections of the UK Border Agency website, and
locally at visa application centres.
streamlined application process for
From summer 2011 we will introduce a streamlined
application process for certain low risk students,
in general waiving the requirements to provide
documentary evidence of maintenance and
qualifications at the time of application. The
substantive requirements will remain the same,
including the 28 day rules for maintenance
funds, and students must be able to provide the
appropriate documents if subsequently requested.
We have compiled significant evidence of high
levels of compliance and low risk of abuse for
students of the following nationalities:
• British National Overseas;
• Hong Kong;
• New Zealand;
• South Korea;
• Trinidad and Tobago; and
• United States of America.
For main applicants of these nationalities who are
sponsored by an institution that meets the new
requirements on educational oversight and are
Highly Trusted, and therefore considered to be very
low risk, we shall, in general, waive the requirement
to provide documents at the time of application
other than the CAS and the passport/ identity
document. We shall also waive these requirements
for dependants where both the main applicant and
dependant are of a nationality listed above. This
will apply for applications in the UK and in their
home country, but not for applications made in
third countries. We will reserve the right to request
the required documentation where necessary and at
random to ensure that the system is robust.
Risk patterns and patterns of compliance change
over time and so we will build mechanisms to
ensure that this “lighter touch” is regularly reviewed
and updated. We will:
• re-assess the risk and evidence, normally on an
• re-assess the list of nationalities as and when
new risks are identified and revert to standard
requirements if concerns are confirmed; and
• randomly assess a sample of applicants to
ensure that the initiative is not being abused and
that the risk profile remains accurate.
student permission to worK
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
For students sponsored by publicly-funded
colleges of further education we will also retain the
current level of permission to work at 10 hours
per week part-time during term-time and full-time
From summer 2011 students who are applying for
entry clearance or leave to remain and who are not
sponsored by a higher education institutions or
publicly-funded further education college will not
be granted permission to work at any time during
We will also retain the current rules around work
placements for students sponsored by higher
education institutions studying at degree level and
above, and keep the minimum study to work ratio
the same at 50:50.
From April 2012 where the sponsor is not a higher
education institution, we will additionally require
that students starting new courses including
work placements can only do so where there is a
minimum ratio of study to work of 66:33.
dependants and their entitlements
From summer 2011 students applying for their
initial grant of leave as a student will only be able
to bring their dependent family members (limited
to spouses/partners and children aged under 18)
where the course is at least 12 months long and the
student is either doing post-graduate level study
at a higher education institution (NQF 7/QCF 7/
SCQF 11 and above) or is Government sponsored.
These dependants will have unrestricted access to
the UK labour market.
at the end of the course –
time allowed as a student in tier 4
We will maintain the current maximum total
period of leave at three years for study below
NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9. From April 2012, we will
additionally introduce a maximum total period of
leave of five years for study at NQF 6 & 7/QCF
6 & 7/SCQF 9-11. This will limit the overall time
spent in Tier 4 (General) to eight years, with some
limited exceptions. Time studying through the
Tier 4 (Child) route will not be counted toward
We will make exceptions for those advanced
courses where, for example as a matter of
professional qualification, the required total period
of study is longer than five years.
We will work with the education and other relevant
sectors to define a list of these courses by April
2012, to include:
• Medicine (including dentistry and pharmacy);
• Veterinary Medicine & Science.
Students undertaking a PhD will not be subject
to the time limit, but if they have eight or more
years leave as a student or in Tier 4 (General) on
completion of their PhD they will not be able to
apply for further leave in Tier 4 (General).
Students who have already eight or more years leave
as a student or in Tier 4 (General) from April 2012
will be able to complete their course, but not apply
for further leave in Tier 4 (General) when
We expect that most students who are extending
their visa will be progressing to a higher course
level. We will introduce, from summer 2011, a
requirement for the sponsor to confirm that any
student is making academic progress when they are
applying for further leave to remain to commence
a new course that is not at a higher level on the
NQF/QCF/SCQF. In those circumstances
the sponsor should confirm the new course is
complementary to the previous course, for instance
those moving from a taught Masters degree to
an MBA or research based Masters degree or
developing a deeper specialisation in a given area.
Confirmation of academic progression will be
through the CAS, initially in the free text field and
in due course through a tick box on the CAS form.
We will allow as exceptions:
• applications to move to a new course at the
same level at a different institution before
completion of the initial course (once only); and
• applications to take re-sits in order to complete
the course provided this will not take the
student over the relevant time limit (maximum
of twice, except at higher education institution
who set their own strict criteria on re-sits).
We will not generally seek to challenge an individual
confirmation of progression from sponsors.
However we shall monitor use of this provision
and seek to develop benchmarks for the acceptable
frequency of confirmations where student is not
moving to a higher level.
at the end of the course –
worKing in the uK
tier 1 (post study worK)
From April 2012 the Tier 1 Post-Study Work route
will be closed to new applicants. Instead students
graduating with a UK degree, PGCE, PGDE from
a Recognised or Listed Body will be able to apply
for a job with a UK Border Agency licensed
Tier 2 sponsor.
They will only be able to switch into Tier 2 if they
are in the UK, before their student visa expires.
They must meet the normal criteria for Tier 2, but
we will waive the Resident Labour Market Test
requirement. They must be paid the minimum
salary, i.e. £20,000 p.a. or the minimum set out
in the relevant code of practice. We will keep the
salaries in the Codes under review to ensure they
are appropriate for new graduates.
Students switching as set out above will not be
subject to the limit on Tier 2 migrants.
Students who switch into Tier 2 as set out above
will be able to sponsor any dependants who
accompanied them as students but will not be able
to sponsor any new dependants.
The Government will monitor the numbers
switching from Tier 2 and check for any evidence
of abuse. If necessary it will consult the Migration
Advisory Committee (MAC) on how to address
any abuse (including the subsequent imposition of
a limit) and will also ask the MAC in due course to
review all the in-country exemptions from the
Tier 2 limits.
We know that there are bright and innovative
students who have a business idea and want to
make it work in Britain. So we will ensure there is a
place in our immigration system for those students
who, through their studies, have developed world
class innovative ideas for example in science,
technology or design. For those students who do
not want to be tied to an employer but who want
to bring their ideas to market themselves, we will
develop arrangements to enable them to stay in the
UK to pursue their ideas. We will work with the
education and business sectors to design a process
to identify those whose ideas and innovation can
help drive our growth and productivity.
Produced by UK Border Agency
© Crown copyright 2011