Changes relating to Tier 4 of the Points-Based System – 17th March 2017

Changes relating to Tier 4 of the Points-Based System 

Tier 4 of the Points Based System is the route used by non-EEA nationals wishing to study in the UK. Tier 4 is comprised of two categories: Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child). The following changes are being made in Tier 4:

  • Tier 4 students who have work rights are limited in the number of hours they may work per week. An amendment is being made to set out a definition of a week, in order to ensure clarity for students, employers and sponsors.
  • An amendment is being made to clarify that only where an applicant is being sponsored wholly by a Government or international scholarship agency by means of an award which covers both fees and maintenance must they provide
    the unconditional written consent of the sponsoring Government or agency to the application, and the specified documents set out in paragraph 245A.
  • Under Tier 4 (General), if the course is below degree level, the grant of entry clearance or leave must not lead to the applicant having been granted more than 2 years in the UK as a Tier 4 migrant since the age of 18 to study courses that did not consist of degree level study. An amendment is being made to extend the time limit to 3 years for courses which are below degree level, but which are subject to a regulatory requirement by the Maritime and Coastguard agency that the applicant must spend at least 12 months at sea.
  • Tier 4 (Child) applicants and Tier 4 (General) applicants who are under the age of 18 must provide confirmation from a parent or guardian that they consent to the arrangements for the child’s travel to, and reception and care in the UK. An amendment is being made to require evidence of the relationship between the applicant and the person providing consent.
  • An amendment is being made to correct a typographical error in paragraph 245ZX(c), making clear that the applicant must have a minimum of 30 points under paragraphs 113 to 120 and 120A of Appendix A.
    • An amendment is being made to clarify the rules in relation to how soon an applicant seeking to study in the UK after a period of overstaying must commence their new course, to ensure consistency with wider rule changes that
    came into effect in November 2016.
  • Under Tier 4 (General), all applicants aged 16 and over are required to satisfy the Secretary of State that they are a genuine student. To ensure consistency between the routes, an amendment is being made to Tier 4 (Child) to apply the Genuine Student Rule to those applicants who are aged 16 and over.
  • Amendments are being made to clarify the circumstances in which an original document from UK NARIC must be provided.
  • Under the Tier 4 (General) route, sponsors may only sponsor migrants to undertake courses that meet certain academic standards. An amendment is being made to allow sponsors who have Probationary Sponsor status to sponsor applicants to undertake courses at a lower level where the applicants are under the age of 18. This equates to courses at Level 3 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and Level 6 in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).
  • An amendment is being made to simplify the language when referring to an applicant’s valid passport.
  • An amendment is being made to clarify that where an applicant is applying for leave to undertake an intercalated bachelor’s or master’s degree course or PhD where they are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science, or dentistry as their principal course of study, or to complete their principal course, having completed a period of intercalation, they are exempt from the requirement to show academic progression.
  • Under Tier 4 (General), loan funds for maintenance purposes must be made available to the applicant before they travel to the UK. An amendment is being made to allow loan funds to be paid directly to the educational institution in the UK with the living costs portion of the loan released to the applicant before or on arrival in the UK. This change is being made because loans paid directly to educational institutions are deemed to provide sufficient security and evidence that the student has the requisite means to support themselves while studying in the UK.
  • Where an applicant within the Tier 4 (Child) route has a younger sibling who is being accompanied by their parent(s) on the Parent of a Tier 4 (Child) route, an amendment is being made to provide for the applicant to show maintenance on the basis that they will reside with their parent(s).