House of Commons: Written Statement (HCWS95) announcing new statement of changes in Immigration Rules, 13 July 2015

Changes to Tier 4

New students at publicly funded colleges will be prevented from being able to work in the UK. From “the autumn”, “college students” will be unable to switch to a work visa or extend their study visa whilst they are in the UK.

The rules around academic progression are also being tightened so that university students are only permitted to extend their studies at the same academic level if the course they wish to study is linked to their previous course, or the university confirms the course supports the student’s career aspirations. The time limit on further education study will be reduced from three years to two years in “the autumn”.

The maintenance requirement for Tier 4 students is increasing, along with the maximum amount paid for accommodation which can be offset against the maintenance requirement,. The rule around established presence which allowed students applying to extend their leave within the UK to show only two months’ maintenance is being removed.

The application of the rules on time limits is being “clarified” so that the time a student has already spent studying in the UK is calculated using the full length of the leave they have previously been granted.

Changes are being made to allow a Tier 4 visa to be issued in line with a student’s intended date of travel.

Conditions of study are being changed, to prevent those in Tier 4 from studying at academies or schools maintained by a local authority. Those who wish to study a foundation course to prepare for entry to higher education are also being prevented from doing so under the Tier 4 (Child) route.

Where responsibilities of sponsor organisations and terminology have recently changed, the rules are being updated.

There are additional updates such as:

enabling South African diplomatic passport holders to travel visa free to the UK for the purpose of ‘visit in transit’

amending the eligibility requirements for transit passengers, aligning the period within which non-visa nationals must intend and are able to leave the UK with that of visa nationals (other than those using the Transit Without Visa Scheme)

changes to administrative review, “which have been identified as necessary during the early stages of implementation”

“minor changes and clarifications” relating to family and private life, mainly reflecting feedback from caseworkers and legal practitioners on the operation of the rules.