The next set of changes to the Immigration Rules affecting Tier 4 – the student tier – of the points-based system has been laid in Parliament today. The changes will come into effect on 4 July 2011.
The Home Secretary announced changes to the Immigration Rules in a statement to Parliament on 22 March, following a major public consultation on reforming Tier 4. The first set of changes came into effect on 21 April.
The aim of the revised Immigration Rules is to deliver a strong migration system which tackles immigration abuse, while allowing genuine students to study at genuine colleges.
From 4 July UKBA will:
- restrict work entitlements to migrants studying at higher educational institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded further education colleges only;
- restrict the sponsorship of dependants to those studying at postgraduate level at HEIs on courses lasting at least 12 months, and government-sponsored students on courses lasting at least 6 months;
- require education providers to vouch that a new course represents genuine academic progression;
- ensure that maintenance funds are genuinely available to the applicant, by introducing a declaration on the visa application form;
- commit to publish a list of financial institutions that we consider, on the basis of experience, do not verify financial statements to our satisfaction in more than 50 per cent of a sample of cases;
- introduce a streamlined application process for low-risk nationals applying to attend courses with Highly Trusted Sponsors;
- extend the list of courses for which students must receive ATAS clearance;
- restrict the ability to deliver accountancy courses accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to those sponsors accorded platinum or gold status by ACCA; and
- clarify the position of overseas universities with campuses in the UK.
These changes were announced by Immigration Minister Damian Green in a written ministerial statement this morning. You can download this statement, and the statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 1148) from the right side of this page.
A revised version of policy guidance document for Tier 4 migrants, and a statement of intent summarising the new student visa policy, can also be downloaded from the right side of this page. You can find our revised guidance for Tier 4 sponsors in the Sponsor guidance section.
UKBA are also announcing today that the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) will extend their activities to cover privately funded providers, in line with our commitment that all privately funded sponsors would be inspected or reviewed by one of the publicly recognised bodies by the end of 2012.