Student Update: What The New Immigration Rules Mean For You
The Government has announced sweeping changes to the student visa system that will affect international students currently studying, or hoping to study in the UK.
The government believes that this will stop 'abuse' of the student visa system, and will reduce net migration figures.
Restriction of the Right to Work
The main changes relate to the rights of international students to work in the UK whilst they are on a Tier 4 student visa.
Currently, international students sponsored by public colleges are allowed to work up to 10 hours a week. From August 2015, the rules on the right to work for those sponsored by public colleges will be brought into line with the rules for international students sponsored by private colleges, which means they will be unable to work at all.
The rules for international students
sponsored by universities have not changed, meaning these students are still allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week.
Other notable changes include:
- Students will no longer be allowed to apply for a working visa once their course has finished. They must now leave the UK before they can do this.
- Students are only allowed to continue studying if the new course they wish to undertake links to their previous course.
- Further education visas will be reduced from 3 years to 2.
- Rules restricting students from continuing their studies unless their college has formal links to a university.
What Does This Mean?
These changes effectively make it harder for people to access the UK to work under a Tier 4 student visa. But, there are concerns that this will make studying in the UK far more difficult and unappealing for genuine applicants.
Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, has voiced concerns:
"Preventing international Further Education (FE) students continuing to study in the UK after they have finished their studies will limit the progression of students from colleges to universities… In blocking the route from further education to university, the government will do long-term harm to the UK as an international student destination."
Emma Brooksbank, our Associate Solicitor and Head of Immigration, agrees:
"The introduction of these rules is likely to mean that talented students who would bring economic gain to the United Kingdom will be deterred and go elsewhere."
How Can Simpson Millar LLP Help?
If you are a Tier 4 applicant, it's important for you to be fully aware of these changes, as your future hopes of finding a job or continuing your studies in the UK may no longer be possible. Our specialist immigration solicitors at Simpson Millar LLP will be able to advise and support you with your application to make sure that you get the best outcome.