Four key changes which are of particular relevance for students planning to study at UK

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has introduced a number of changes to the Immigration Rules for international students which took effect from 6 April 2012. There are four key changes which are of particular relevance for students planning to study at UK:

  1. Maintenance funds
  2. English language requirements
  3. Time limits for studying in the UK
  4. Working in the UK after graduating
 
1. Maintenance funds
 
If you are an international applicant who will apply for a student visa under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System you will need to show, as part of the visa application process, that you have sufficient funds to pay for your accommodation and other living expenses in the UK. These funds must be held in an appropriate bank account.
 
A. Living costs
 
In addition to showing that you hold funds for your first year tuition fees, the required living expenses for international students applying for a Tier 4 student visa are now £800 per calendar month. New students will therefore need to show a minimum of £7200 in their bank accounts to support living costs (in addition to their tuition fees) before a visa can be granted.
 
B. Accommodation costs
 
We are not able to include accommodation payments in the CAS we will prepare for you for your visa application. In light of this we recommend that you only pay for your accommodation once your visa has been granted. Please note that this does not relate to the damage deposit. You must pay any deposit required on time in order to secure your accommodation.
 
2. English language requirements
 
Any students planning to take a pre-sessional language course will need a Secure English Language Test (SELT) at Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) B1 level or higher if they need a Tier 4 student visa to enter the UK in order to undertake the course.
 
A SELT is required even if students have undertaken a recognised English language qualification to meet the requirements for a degree programme with us.
 
Time limits for studying in the UK
 
Limits have been introduced on the amount of time that students can spend in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa to study courses of certain levels:
  1. 3 years for courses below degree level (excluding time spent on a child student visa)
  2. 5 years for undergraduate degree programmes and taught postgraduate courses
There are exceptions to the five year limit if an undergraduate course was four or five years long to begin with and a student wishes to progress to a postgraduate taught course. There are also exemptions for the following courses: Architecture, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine and Science.
Current students who need to re-sit part of their course will be subject to the limits outlined above.
 
Working in the UK after graduating
The Tier 1 Post Study Work visa route which allowed international graduates to work for two years upon the successful completion of a degree programme has closed. For international graduates intending to work in the UK there are other possible immigration routes which may enable them to remain in the UK to work such as:
  1. Tier 2 – for graduate level positions with a minimum salary of £20,000 or the minimum appropriate rate set out in the Code of Practice for their sector, whichever is higher.
  2. Tier 5 – for Government Authorised Exchanges to undertake a period of professional training or work experience that is required to obtain a professional qualification or registration in the same professional field as their qualification.
  3. Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur – for budding entrepreneurs who have graduated in the last 12 months and wish to set up a business in the UK. Higher Education Institutions will act as the immigration sponsor for their graduates under this scheme and will be responsible for selecting individuals to take part and for monitoring their progress. There will be a maximum of 10 places per institution each year under this scheme.
Please note that this information  may be subject to change and updates announced by the UKBA. Above is a summary of headline information – individual circumstances may dictate slightly different applications of the UKBA guidance.
 
Further information can be found at: