The government announced changes to the Immigration Rules on 13 July. Many of these affect Tier 4 of the points-based system.
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 to our world class universities.
The visa should be considered by those looking to start, run or take over a UK based business. The visa allows initial entry for a period of up to 3 years and 4 months for the applicant as well as his/her spouse and children under the age of 18 and can be extended. If the business continues you should be able to gain permanent residence in the UK in about five years