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10th Sep 2020 – Statement of Changes

This instrument amends the Immigration Rules that are used to regulate people’s entry to and stay in the United Kingdom. The detail of the changes being made is included in section 7 of this Explanatory Memorandum, but in
summary, the changes will:

  • Introduce the Student and Child Student rules for the Points Based Immigration System and make consequential amendments to other sections of the rules.
  • Introduce sections of the rules for English Language provision, Maintenance and Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) and make consequential amendments to other sections of the rules.
  • Remove or amend all references to Tier 4 as the route will close on 5 October 2020 at 0900 when the Student route is introduced. The definitions of ‘Student’ and ‘Child Student’ will include reference to ‘Tier 4 (General)
    and Tier 4 (Child) students respectively, to ensure that current Tier 4 visa holders can continue to extend their visas and bring dependants under the new rules, if they meet the requirements of the route.

These changes shall take effect on 5 October 2020 at 0900. In relation to those changes, if an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain has been made before 5 October 2020 at 0900, such applications will be decided in accordance with the Immigration Rules in force on 5 October 2020 at 0859.

Where consequential changes relating to the need to obtain an ATAS certificate have been made to the conditions of leave for routes, these changes take effect for all applications made or granted on or after 5 October at 0900.

The changes are being introduced to give effect to the Government’s plan to create a global visa system which applies equally to all individuals coming to the UK to work or study, including EEA nationals. The Government set out its
intent in a policy statement, ‘The UK’s points-based immigration system, on 19 February 2020 and provided further details in its policy statement, ‘UK points-based immigration system: further details statement on 13 July 2020.

The Student and Child Student routes will replace the Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) routes in the Immigration Rules.

The main differences between the Tier 4 routes and the Student routes are outlined below:

  • EEA nationals will be incorporated into a global application system. EEA nationals will be required to meet the same requirements to study within the UK as non-EEA nationals and will need to apply under the Student rules.
  • There are increased switching permissions within the study route and increased switching between routes within the Points Based Immigration System. Students will be able to apply for further permission from within
    the UK, provided they meet the Academic Progression requirement and the new course of study commences within 28 days of the expiry of the current leave. Under the Tier 4 route, to be able to apply for further leave in country, a Tier 4 (General) student must have last been sponsored by a higher education provider with a track record of compliance, overseas higher education institution, embedded college offering pathway courses or an
    independent school. A Tier 4 (Child) student must have last held leave as a Tier 4 Migrant. Under the Student and Child Student routes, applicants will be able to apply for further permission to stay in the UK to study under Student Routes, unless they last held leave as a visitor; or a short-term student; or granted outside the immigration rules. Additionally, a migrant cannot apply if they last held leave as a Parent of a Child Student; a
    Seasonal Worker; or as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household. These applications will be rejected rather than refused if they do not meet this requirement.
  • The eight-year time limit on studying courses at postgraduate level has been removed. There is no longer a limit on the time that an individual can spend studying postgraduate courses.
  • Applicants who apply for permission to stay in the UK will not be required to provide evidence of maintenance funds when they have spent longer than one year in the UK on their current visa.
  • Students at higher education providers with a track record of compliance will not routinely be required to provide evidence of academic qualifications used to obtain the offer of sponsorship.
  • Students who will be applying for leave as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer or to study on a recognised Foundation Programme will not be required to prove evidence of maintenance funds, as it is accepted that these individuals will be earning an income during the validity of their visas.

As part of the new simplified style, we are introducing new Rules on English Language and Finance (which will only apply to the new Student and Child Student routes at this stage) with the intention of creating Rules on themes that
apply across several routes.

These thematic Rules include changes to:

  • ensure applicants only need to prove the required level of English language to the Home Office once;
  • update the majority speaking English language country list to include Malta and Ireland (where, for example a non-Irish national has a degree from an Irish university they can rely on this to show their English language ability);
  • allow applicants who have gained GCSE/A’Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK to rely on this to prove their English language ability, replacing the ability of Child Students to rely on 6 months
    in the UK to prove English;
  • no longer require applicants who have met the maintenance requirement on their current route to meet it again if they have been supporting themselves in the UK for more than a year;
  • allow applicants to rely on electronic bank statements;
  • allow applicants to show they meet maintenance requirements by relying on a wider range of accounts.

EEA nationals are subject to transitional arrangements until the transition period ends on 31 December. An EAA or Swiss national who makes an application in the UK under the new Student or Child Student rules before 1 January 2021 will have their application rejected since they continue to have Freedom of Movement under EU law and are entitled to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

EEA nationals who apply under the Student or Child Student rules from outside the UK will only be granted leave that commences on or after 1 January 2021, provided they meet the requirements of the route.

The list of countries whose nationals may submit reduced documentary evidence (formerly Appendix H) has been updated to add all the countries which form part of the EEA and Switzerland. The following countries have
been added to the list: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta,
Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) routes will be closed to new applications after 5 October 2020 at 0859. References to Tier 4 have either been deleted from the Immigration Rules or amended where appropriate to reflect the new Student and Child Student rules. All references to Students or Child Students in the new rules must be read as including references to people who currently hold leave as Tier 4 Migrants, including in Part 9, Appendix AR and
Appendix W. All Student and Child Student applications, including Student Dependent applications, which are made on or after 5 October 2020 at 0900 will be decided in accordance with the new Student rules, even where they are
accompanied by a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies which was issued under the Tier 4 rules and policy in place before 5 October at 0900.

This Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules is not being made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act, but it relates to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union because it supports implementation of the Student and Child Student routes to permit EEA nationals to apply to enter the UK as students.

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