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Latest visa news

6 April 2017 – Immigration Changes

Concession for Syrian Nationals

  • The concession for Syrian nationals in the UK has been extended from 1st March 2017 until the 28th February 2018.

Leave to remain

  • Switching into Tier 4 (General) or extending your leave from within the UK is only permitted if you have or previously had leave in one of the following categories (list categories here from the guidance) . However, pre-Tier 4 students can still apply in the UK for Tier 4 (Child) student leave.
  • If you are using the Premium service to apply for your visa then you will have 45 business days in which to attend an 'in person' appointment - this change affects all categories of leave.

Under 18s

  • In addition to the parental letter of consent to care arrangements, Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) students aged under 18 must provide evidence of the relationship between them and the parent or legal guardian who writes the letter of consent: Acceptable evidence includes one of the following original (or notarised copy) documents:

a) birth certificate showing the names of your parent (s),

b) certificate of adoption showing the name(s) of your parent(s) or legal guardian,

c) court document naming your legal guardian (s).

Additional evidence if you are 16 or 17 years old and you are living independently:

  • If you are 16 or 17 years old, then you have the legal right to live independently in the UK, this means you can make your own arrangements for accommodation.
  • You must provide a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian, confirming their consent to your living independently in the UK and your independent travel to the UK.
  • This information can also be included in the parental consent letter.
  • Tier 4 (Child) students aged 16 or older can be interviewed under the 'genuine student' test

Students sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency

  • If you are currently financially sponsored by a government or an international scholarship agency or your financial sponsorship ended within 12 months of your application being made, you will need your sponsor's permission to stay in or re-enter the UK. You must provide your financial sponsor's unconditional consent in writing. This must confirm that your sponsor has no objection to you continuing your studies in the UK. If your financial sponsor does not give consent, your application will be refused.

Work

For the purposes of work, a week is defined as a period of 7 days starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. 

General grounds for refusal

  • Automatic refusal of entry clearance has been reduced from 90 to 30 days (with exceptions). The change affects all categories of leave.
  • You should keep all evidence of applications, refusals, administrative review applications and any decisions should you ever overstay in the UK.

Maintenance

Loans

  • If you are applying from overseas, the loan funds must be available to you before you travel to the UK, with only two exceptions:

1.      The loan is an academic or student loan from your country's national government and it will be released to you on or before arrival in the UK, or

2.      The loan funds are or will be paid to directly to your Tier 4 sponsor before you travel to the UK and the living costs portion of the loan will be released to you on or before your arrival in the UK

Other changes to Tier 4

  • References to the NQF and CQF are replaced by the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
  • The current concession for intercalating students has been inserted into the provisions that provide an exception to the Tier 4 (General) academic progress requirement.

PBS Work Routes

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

If you are applying to switch from within the UK you can only do so if you have or last had leave as a:

  • Tier 4 (General) student
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrant
  • Tier 2 (General) migrant - and have permission to work as a post-doctoral researcher for the same institution which is endorsing your application as a Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) migrant as listed in the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Policy Guidance

If a student is relying on an academic qualification from an English speaking country that is not a UK degree, they must prove that the English level is equivalent to CEFR Level B1.  Please read more information at Appendix B of the Immigration Rules

Tier 2 (General)

If you are applying to switch from within the UK you can only do so if you have or last had leave in the categories below:

  • Tier 4 (General) student
  • Tier 1 visa
  • Tier 2 Intra company Transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you're applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion) visa

Please read the Tier 2 Policy Guidance for more information

  • The minimum salary remains at £20,800 for a new entrant but has risen to £30,000 for an experienced worker.
  • There is now a requirement for certain professions (health, education and social care) to provide a criminal record certificate for the applicant and any adult dependants that are included in the Tier 2 (G) application who have lived form 12 months or more in any country. Please go to Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) codes for the relevant list
  • The immigration skills charge introduced on 6 April 2017 does not apply to Tier 4 students switching into Tier 2 (General) from within the UK
  • Changes have been made to the Shortage Occupation List in the Immigration Rules Appendix K to include and remove certain secondary school teachers
  • Milkround - universities are no longer required to advertise on specific websites to meet the resident labour market test but must advertise through 2 methods, one of which must be a prominent graduate recruitment website, which does not charge a fee to jobseekers to view job advertisements or to apply for jobs via those advertisements
  • If recruitment takes places via a milkround, the CoS must be assigned within 48 months of the milkround taking place, and the applicant offered the job within 12 months of that recruitment campaign ending

For more information on university graduates please see Tiers 2 and 5: Guidance for Sponsors

Tier 5 Youth Mobility

  • Changes to the allocations for certain countries came into force
  • Applicants from Taiwan will now have to apply for deemed sponsorship status

Information on these changes can be found at Appendix G of the Immigration Rules

More information on all work routes is also available on the UKCISA Website

Visitors

  • Applications for entry as a Visitor can be made at any post outside the UK that accept Entry Clearance applications, please see Appendix V of the Immigration Rules

Changes effective from 24 November 2016

Overstayers

Applications from students who have overstayed in the UK, will only be accepted if submitted within 14 days of the leave expiring.

English Language requirements

Where relying on the exemption from a SELT because a student has obtained a qualification to a Bachelors, Masters or PhD in the UK from a majority English speaking country, they will need to include an original document from UK NARIC to confirm the equivalency. If the qualification was gained in the UK, it must be Bachelors, Masters or PhD and not an equivalent of these. 

Evidential Flexibility 

Where documents in a series are missing eg bank statements, the start and end of that series must also be included.  If further documentation is requested, this will be requested only once and must be received within 10 working days of the request. 

Maintenance for dependants 

When calculating how much money a dependant needs to show in support of their immigration application, this will now depend upon the length of the students immigration permission and not the length of the student's course.

For further information visit http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/studentnews/875/November-changes-for-students-and-family.

Academic progression

If a student is applying for a new visa in the UK because they have completed re-sits or repeat teaching, they no longer need to meet the academic progression requirements. This means that students are not required to return home to extend their visas and can apply from within the UK. Students who are applying to extend their leave and move to a higher level course can now do so from within the UK if they are studying an integrated Masters course eg MEng, and progressing from the lower to higher level of qualification 

Work related

  • Tier 4 students applying for Tier 2 (General) can no longer rely on a qualification for exemption from the Resident Labour Market Test where that qualification was gained as a result of ‘supplementary study' (this applies to all Certificates of Sponsorship  assigned on or after 24 November 2016)
  • With effect from various dates in November and December 2016, there are changes to Tier 2 concerning minimum salaries, recruitment exercises, and also nurses and midwives. Note that the existing minimum salary of £20,800 is retained for some groups, including many of those who switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2.
  • There are some small but notable changes to the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (coming in to force from 1 January 2017) please see below:
    • Australia loses 10,000 places, New Zealand gains 1,000 places, and Canada gains 500 places. Taiwan gains deemed sponsorship status
    • Some new arrangements for applicants from Japan, whereby interested individuals have to submit an expression of interest, and the Home Office then invite only a limited number of them (selected at random) to apply

For further information visit http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/studentnews/875/November-changes-for-students-and-family

Changes effective from 6 April 2016

Applying in the UK

Students sponsored by an independent School

If you are sponsored by an independent school, you are allowed to apply for a new Tier 4 (General) visa from within the UK, rather than having to go home to apply.

Students sponsored by a publicly-funded further education college or by a private college

If you are a Tier 4 (General) applicant with Tier 4 (General) leave you can-not apply in the UK if you are currently sponsored by a publicly-funded further education college or by a private college that is not an embedded college.

(KULISC students can make applications from inside the UK subject to meeting other requirements)

Changing course with same sponsor

If you have a Tier 4 (General) visa and you want to change course at Kingston University you can do without first making a new immigration application only if your study condition allows it.

From the 6 April 2016 the new study condition allows for a change of course if:

  • Your previous course has not been completed
  • Your new course can be completed within the period of leave the student already has been granted
  • Your new course is at degree level and not at a lower level than the previous course

You will need to apply for fresh entry clearance if you are making any changes to your course that requires additional time e.g. adding an extra year of study to their programme for a work placement

Time Limit (caps) on studies

Two year cap - Below degree level

  • Tier 4 (General) students are subject to a limit of two years of Tier 4 leave from their 18th birthday, this applies to courses below degree level
  • The Home Office will not approve new leave to study at below degree level, if you have already been studying a below degree level course for 2 years.

11 month concession continues

In the following circumstances, the two year cap is extended to two years and 11 months if:

  • You have never studied in the UK as a Tier 4 (General) student and you are applying for leave to study a two year course
  • The 5-year cap would prevent you from completing a fifth academic year at degree level or above, the time limit is extended to five years and 11 months
  • The UG course was four years long e.g. the course included a year in industry or a study year abroad and you will follow a course of study at Masters level, then the time limit would be extended to six years
  • If the six year limit would prevent you from completing a sixth academic year, the limit is extended to six years and 11 months

Eight-year cap on study

If you are studying a first PhD, postgraduate research or masters by research qualification you are exempt from any time constraints, but in all circumstances where you have completed a PhD, postgraduate research or masters by research qualification, you will be subject to an overall limit of 8 years to complete any further studies on a Tier 4 (General) visa (inside the UK).

Note: Calculations for time limits will be based on previous periods for which you were granted leave and the level of course rather than (if different) periods and course actually studied

If you have already exceeded the maximum time limit you will not benefit from the 11 month concession

Academic Progression

  • If you wish to extend your Tier 4 (General) leave you must be moving up an NQF Level E.g. UG - PG
  • The Home Office have implemented new rules that prevent you from applying for further Tier 4 leave if you have failed to complete the course you were studying. If you have failed to complete your previous course you will not meet the Academic Progression requirement and you must apply from overseas
  • You are no longer able to apply for a new course at a lower level than the previous course (inside the UK) as this will not represent Academic Progression
  • If you have completed a pre-sessional English language course you can apply to study a substantive course and this is considered to be Academic Progress
  • If you choose to complete a second programme at the same level, you can apply if the time limits are not exceeded and the new course is related to and enhances your previous Tier 4 study, OR the previous course and new course in combination supports your genuine career aspirations

Academic progression is not required in the following cases

  • You are a Tier 4 (Child) student
  • You are applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa from overseas
  • Submitting a first Tier 4 application to complete an existing course which commenced with  a Tier 4 sponsor whose  licence has since been revoked
  • Applying to re-sit an examination or repeat a course module
  • If you are applying to complete a PhD or other doctoral qualification for which your last given Tier 4 or Student leave was granted (including continuing a qualification at a new sponsor)
  • Applying to complete the qualification for which you were last given Tier 4 or Student leave after a period as a student union sabbatical officer

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

  • Under the scheme ALL students requiring immigration permission wishing to undertake a qualification of more than six months of study or research in a discipline listed in Appendix 6, must apply for an ATAS clearance certificate via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
  • You can apply for an ATAS certificate up to nine months in advance of the starting date of your course. Early applications are strongly advised and are free of charge
  • It takes a minimum of 20 working days to process an ATAS application and you cannot begin your course until you have been issued with an ATAS

If you required an ATAS certificate before starting your course, you must apply for a new ATAS certificate if:

  • Your are applying for an extension of leave in order to continue their course
  • You are starting a new course that requires ATAS clearance
  • You are moving to another institution
  • You are changing course
  • The end date of your course is delayed by more than three calendar months (even if you do not need to make a fresh immigration application)
  • There are any changes to the course content or the research proposal

Working during studies on a Tier 4 Visa

From the 6th April 2016 Tier 4 (General) students are prohibited from engaging in 'business activity'. The Home Office has explained that this is to stop you from setting up a business in the UK.

TIER 4 IMMIGRATION RULES CHANGES - This information was correct as of 04 November 2015

Changes effective from 12 November 2015

All campuses at Kingston University will be considered to be in 'inner London' for visa maintenance purposes. 

This means that all continuing students who are required to extend their current visa will be required to show £1,265 a month for up to 9 months or to the course end date, whichever is the shorter.

Dependants of Tier 4 students will be required to show £845 a month for up to 9 months or to the applicant's course end date, whichever is the shorter.

Time Limit on below degree-level studies

  • The length of time that a Tier 4 (General) student can spend on below degree-level courses will be reduced from three years to two, (i.e. NQF levels 3-5 and equivalents)

Preventing college students from extending their Tier 4 (General) visa or switching to other points-based routes

  • Tier 4 (General) students studying at colleges cannot extend their stay in Tier 4, or switch into any other points-based route, unless they are studying at a college which UKVI classes as an 'embedded college offering pathway programmes', designed to prepare students for entry to a higher education course
  • Students at other colleges, who wish to go on to study at a college or a university, must apply from outside the UK

Maintenance Requirements

The 'established presence' provision is being removed with the exception of those students on Tier 4 (G) visas switching into the Doctorate Extension Scheme.  All students must show they have sufficient funds to support themselves for the full duration of their course, or up to nine months, whichever is shorter.

  • The maintenance for a Tier 4 (General) student will increase from £820 (outer London) to £1.015 a month, and from £1,020 (inner London) to £1,265 a month
  • The maintenance for a Tier 4 dependant will increase from £460 (outer London) to £680 a month, and from £615 (inner London) to £845 a month up to a maximum of 9 months (please note this is no longer applicable to Kingston University students) see above.
  • The maximum amount already paid for accommodation which can be offset against the maintenance requirements is also being increased from £1,020 to £1,265 a month

Download full details of all these changes in PDF which can be found in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance Version 11/15.

Changes effective from 10 August 2015

Academic Progress and switching courses

  • Students who fail to successfully complete a previous course for which they were granted Tier 4 leave will not be able to demonstrate academic progress and will have to apply from overseas if they wish to make a Tier 4 application to study a new course

Calculating periods of leave counting toward time limits

  • The length of leave granted will now be taken into account to calculate the time spent at or above degree-level studies
  • Time spent studying on an exempt course will only be discounted from the maximum period of study if you are studying or applying to study such a course. Previous study on an exempt course will not be discounted

To calculate leave counting towards the time limit, the proposed period of leave will be added together with any current leave. This period will be counted from:

  • the date leave would begin if granted, if your application is for entry clearance; or
  • the date the current period of leave began, if your application is for leave to remain, until the day the leave would expire if granted
  • any previous periods of leave you have held under Tier 4 (General) and/or the Student route will be counted, where you have subsequently left the UK. This period will be counted from the date the leave began until the date it expired. If you extended your Tier 4/Student leave, or received any period of continuing leave in accordance with section 3c of the Immigration Act 1971, this will be included. If your leave was curtailed, we will take the date the curtailed leave expired
  • time will be counted in months, with individual days rounded upwards or downwards to the nearest month

There are some exceptions to the 5-year cap:

  • if you are applying to study a course at a higher education institution (HEI) and the 5-year cap would prevent you from completing a fifth academic year at degree level or above, then the limit is extended to five years and 11 months
  • if you have successfully completed a UK degree course which was at least four years long, and you are making a Tier 4 application to study a Master's degree at a higher education institution (recognised body or institution in receipt of public funding), the limit is six years and 11 months

For the avoidance of doubt, this concession is not intended to extend the time limits for all students. Students who have already undertaken five years' academic study will not benefit.

Changes effective from 3 August 2015

Academic Progression

  • Students who wish to extend their Tier 4 (General) leave must be moving up a level on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), unless they are a university student and their new course is related to their previous Tier 4 study, or the previous course and new course in combination supports the applicant's genuine career aspirations
  • If you have been studying a pre-sessional English language course and then apply to study a substantive course that will be considered to be academic progress
  • If your new course is at a lower level than the previous course, it will not represent academic progression

You do not need to show academic progression in the following cases:

  • you are a Tier 4 (Child) Student
  • you are making a Tier 4 (General) application from overseas
  • you are making a first application to complete an existing course commenced at a Tier 4 sponsor that had its licence revoked
  • you are applying to re-sit an examination or repeat a course module
  • you are applying to complete the PhD or other doctoral qualification for which you were last given Tier 4 or Student leave

Banning students at publicly-funded colleges from working

  • work rights are being removed from new Tier 4 students applying to study at publicly-funded further education colleges, bringing them into line with students at private colleges

If you are following a course at any level with a sponsor, which is a publicly- funded further education college, only the following work is allowed:

  • on a work placement as part of a course, providing the work placement does not amount to more than 33% of the course
  • as a student union sabbatical officer for up to two years

If you are following a course at any level with a Tier 4 sponsor which is a private provider:

  • you are not allowed to work whilst in the UK
  • you can undertake a work placement that is an integral part of your course

Contact us

International Student Advisory Centre
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3645
Email: isac@kingston.ac.uk

International students
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