Read about any changes to the immigration rules and news which may affect you.

Immigration guidance if you are unable to return to China from the UK

The UKVI have issued some guidance for those people in the UK with a visa that is soon to expire who unable to return to China due to coronavirus.  

If you are a Chinese national in the UK and have been compliant with the conditions of your visa prior to the coronavirus outbreak, your leave will be automatically extended to 31 March 2020 if your visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

You don’t need to do anything to get this extension.

You will be subject to the same immigration conditions as your last visa during the extension period.

The UKVI have set up a coronavirus immigration helpline.

The helpline will be open from 9am on 18 February 2020

Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Calls are free of charge.

Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

 

Graduate Immigration Route

As per the UKCISA website, on 11 September 2019 the government announced in a news story that a two-year post-study work visa will be launched.  The same day The PIE, a news website for international education professionals, summarised the proposed details of the new visa:

According to a government statement, the new Post Study Work visa will be available to international students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK HEI which has a “proven track record” in upholding immigration checks.

Please download our PSW News bullitin  (Adobe PDF) for the presently available details for the proposed scheme. We will update this information as soon as more details become available.

 

Countries added into Appendix H for streamlined documentary requirements 

From 6 April 2019, Oman is coming back on the list of countries which benefit from the streamlined documentary requirements, found in Appendix H list. Five new countries, namely Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Peru and Tunisia are also being added to the list.
However, Argentina, The Maldives and Trinidad and Tobago will no longer be on the list.
Tier 4 students from these countries will not be required to provide evidence of finances, qualifications or evidence of their English language ability with their application. However, they will still need to meet these requirements, and UKVI will conduct a random sampling of applications.

Immigration health surcharge increases from 8 January

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee has doubled as of 8 January 2019.

This means it will cost £300 a year for Tier 4 students and Tier 4 dependants.

Immigration Rules changes – from 6th July 2018

The following new rules will apply to immigration applications made on or after 6 July 2018:

​ATAS clearance

ATAS clearance will also be required for students coming to the UK to study courses with a relevant JACS codes regardless of the length of course.  ATAS clearance will also be required for those coming to the UK under the Short-term study visa route. 

Different documentary requirements

11 Additional nationalities have been added to the list of students who are able to apply under the differentiation arrangements for low risk nationals including China and Kuwait. 

This means students who are nationals of Bahrain, Cambodia, China, The Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Kuwait, The Maldives, Mexico, Serbia, Thailand, Macau SAR will also able to apply under 'differentiation arrangements' for 'low-risk applicants'.

However, Oman has been removed from the list. This means that nationals of Oman who make Tier 4 applications from 6 July 2018 must submit all documentation (e.g. bank statements and/or sponsor letters) which is required as part of a Tier 4 application.

​Dependants of Tier 4 students

Dependants of Tier 4 students on a postgraduate course will now be able to apply where the tier 4 student’s course is at least 9 months long.​ Previously this was for 12-month long courses only.

Evidence of qualification

Applicants will be able to provide a print out of a qualification or transcript from the awarding body's online checking service. Students will still need to be prepared to have the original document, as the Home Office reserves the right to request this. 

 

Visa application fees increase – from 6 April 2018

Visa application fees have been increased for the majority of visa routes. New fees (per applicant) for Tier 4 and Graduate Entrepreneur visa categories are as follows:

  • Tier 4 Entry Clearance (applications made outside the UK): £348
  • Tier 4 (Standard) in-country applications: £475
  • Tier 4 (Priority) in-country applications: £952
  • Tier 4 (Premium / in-person) in-country applications: £1085
  • Graduate Entrepreneur: £493

 

Immigration Rules changes – from 11 January 2018

Tier 4 students undertaking work placements

Students who need to make a Tier 4 application to undertake a study abroad programme or an assessed work placement, or who need to extend their visa having completed a study abroad programme or work placement as part of their course, will be exempt from having to meet any requirement about academic progress. This means students who add a placement to their course can now extend their visas from within the UK. However, students must make a new Tier 4 vis application before they start their placement.

Short-term study visa changes

The minimum age to apply as a short-term student will be reduced from 18 to 16.  

Short-term study visa students are currently required to leave the UK at the end of their course or at the end of the six-month period of immigration permission, whichever is sooner. This will change to allow short-term students to stay for up to 30 days after the course has ended.

Post-study work options

Tier 4 students (excluding those studying a PhD) who are switching to Tier 2 (General) currently need to have completed and passed their course. This will change so that students can make their application for Tier 2 as soon as the course has been completed. If the final degree certificate or academic transcript is not yet available, evidence can be submitted stating the date the course was completed, having sat all exams and presented all academic papers.

Distance learning students

Students who wish to use short-term study to complete a distance learning course in the UK must meet all of the following criteria. They must:

  • be studying for the majority of their time outside of the UK for a UK qualification by distance learning
  • be on a course that is longer than 6 months
  • only enter the UK for limited periods, totalling no more than 56 days in the UK in any 6-month period- study completed during visits can include induction weeks, short periods of intensive face-to-face learning and exams or assessments

Please contact the International & Compliance team if you have if you have any questions regarding these changes.