On 13th July the government published changes to Part 6A of the Immigration Rules, many of which will affect Tier 4 of the Points-Based System.
Despite a fear that Home Secretary Theresa May might drastically change this area of the Immigration Rules, and consequently impair the UK’s ability to employ and nurture the world’s best young talent post-university, the alterations made appear to be comparatively measured. The changes entail:
- Allowing university students to study a new course at the same level, although only where there is a link to their previous course, or the university confirms that this supports their career aspirations. There will be credibility interviews and sanctions against universities who are not compliant (as of August)
- Banning those who are not studying at an ‘embedded college’ from extending their Tier 4 visas in the UK, as well as banning all college students from switching to Tiers 2 or 5 in the UK. If a student wishes to study another course, whey will be required to leave and apply for a new visa from outside the UK (as of November)
- Stopping new students at publicly funded colleges from working, bringing them in line with those at private colleges (as of August)
- Preventing Tier 4 Dependants from taking a low or unskilled job, but allowing them to work either full or part-time in a skilled role (commences in the Autumn)
- Reducing the time limit for study at further education level from 3 years to 2 years, the latter being the time British students generally spend in further education
Encouragingly, the Home Office seems intent on continuing to attract bright and genuine international students, whilst reducing abuse of immigration legislation. The reality is reassuringly far from the gloomy picture painted by the Daily Mail over the weekend.
For further updates and any important changes to the immigration rules, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.