The UK government announced changes to the Immigration Rules on 13 July. Many of these affect Tier 4 of the points-based system (UK student visas).
The main changes will:
- stop new students at publicly funded colleges from working, bringing them in line with those at private colleges (from August)
- allow university students to study a new course at the same level but only where there’s 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 abuse this rule (from August)
- ban college students from extending their Tier 4 visas in the UK unless they are studying at an ‘embedded college’, one which has a formal, direct link to a university that is recognised by the Home Office. This will require them to leave and apply for a new visa from outside the UK if they wish to study another course (from November)
- ban college students from being able to switch visas to Tiers 2 or 5 in the UK, and require them to apply from outside the UK (from November)
- reduce the time limit for study at further education level from 3 years to 2 years. This brings the maximum period into line with the length of time British students generally spend in further education (from November)
- stop Tier 4 dependants from taking a low or unskilled job, but allow them to take part-time or full-time skilled work (from the autumn)
These changes will help reduce immigration abuse ensuring the UK maintains a competitive offer and attracts the brightest and best international students. The UK continues to welcome genuine students.
Source: UK Visas and Immigration
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