Update to student visa rules – Student route

Sep 16, 2020

 

On the 10 September 2020, a Statement of Changes was published to the immigration rules relating to students. It reveals the current procedure for a student visa will be replaced by the Student route.

The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021. It will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.

The ‘Student route’ will be introduced on the 5 October 2020 and will replace the existing Tier 4 route. Definitions of ‘student’ and ‘child student’ will include references to the Tier 4 General and Tier 4 Child students, so that current visa holders can extend their visas and bring dependants to the UK under the new rules.

On 11 September 2019 the UK government announced that it will be creating a ‘Graduate Immigration Route’ to enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies.

 

What is new for students?

 

  • The new rules apply to both non-EEA and EEA nationals who wish to come to the UK for the purposes of study.

 

  • Where an EEA national makes an entry clearance application before 1 January 2021, any entry clearance granted will take effect from 1 January 2021. EEA nationals applying in-country will only be able to make an application from 1 January 2021.

 

  • Students will be able to apply for further permission from within the UK:
    • if they meet the academic progression requirement
    • the new course of study commences within 28 days of the expiry of their current leave and
    • they haven’t held leave as a:
      • visitor, short-term student or leave granted outside the rules
      • parent of a child student
      • seasonal worker or as domestic worker in a private household.

 

  • Previously, to apply for leave to remain under the Tier 4 category, a Tier 4 (General) student must have last been sponsored by certain institutions (a higher education provider with a track record of compliance, overseas higher education institution, embedded college offering pathway courses or an independent school). They are now able to apply for leave to remain so long as they are not switching from one of these immigration routes: visitor, short-term student or leave granted outside the rules; parent of a child student or seasonal worker or as domestic worker in a private household.

 

  • The 8-year limit on studying courses at postgraduate level has been removed (there is still a 5-year limit for degree level courses).

 

  • There is no requirement to provide evidence of academic qualifications used to obtain sponsorship if the student will be studying at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.

 

  • The list of countries with ‘different documentary requirements’ has been expanded to include EEA countries and Switzerland.

 

Student Route

compiled by Judit Ado

 

 

Changes to the English language requirement

 

An applicant will meet the English language requirement if they have obtained GCSEs, A levels or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK.

The list of majority English speaking countries will be updated to include Malta and Ireland.

 

 

Changes to the financial requirement

 

  • Maintenance funds can be held in any form of personal bank or building society account (including pension and investment accounts) provided the account allows the funds to be accessed immediately.
  • Financial institutions where the funds are held must use electronic record keeping
  • Students who are applying for leave to remain in the UK, and have been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or more on the date of the application, do not need to meet the financial requirement
  • Students applying for leave as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer or to study on a recognised foundation programme will also not need to meet the financial requirement.

 

Changes to the ATAS requirement

 

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requires all international students subject to UK immigration control to apply for an ATAS certificate before they can study in the UK, if they are intending to study at postgraduate level sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used to create weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery. If you are applying to study an undergraduate course with an integrated master’s year, you may also need ATAS clearance.

There is now a list of countries whose nationals are exempt from the ATAS requirement. These are EEA countries, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the US.

The above-mentioned changes do not apply to short-term students who still need to refer to part 3 of the Immigration Rules.

 

Student route

Karen Kaur and Jonathan Beech – immigration lawyers

The Graduate Immigration Route

 

On 11 September 2019 the UK government announced the creation of a ‘Graduate Immigration Route’ to enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies.

The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021. It will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.

Students must also have a valid Tier 4 / Student route visa at the time of application, meaning only those who graduate in the summer of 2021 or after will be eligible to apply.

This route will require a new application including the payment of a visa fee and immigration health surcharge.

Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of 2 years or 3 years for PhD students.

At the end of the two-year period the visa holder will be able to switch into ‘skilled work’ once they have found a job that meets the requirements of the ‘Skilled Worker route’.

Time spent on the Graduate visa will not count towards settlement.

Those who graduate or whose Tier 4 leave expires before the graduate immigration route is introduced, will not be eligible to apply.

 

For more information please contact a member of our team. Email info@migrate-uk.com or telephone 01235 841 568

Student route

Migrate UK immigration lawyers