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Immigration rule changes November 2016

A number of changes to the Immigration Rules were published on 3 November 2016. The majority of changes will affect visa applications made on or after 24 November 2016. Some of the main changes which may affect UEL’s Tier 4 students and applicants are outlined below:

Academic Progression Rule 

• Tier 4 (General) students who are applying to undertake a Student Union Sabbatical Officer role or applying for the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme will be exempt from demonstrating academic progression. 

 • Tier 4 (General) students who are applying to extend their leave to move to a higher level course can now do so from within the UK where they are studying an integrated Masters course, such as MEng, and progressing from the lower to higher level qualification. 

 • Tier 4 (General) students who are applying to extend their leave to complete a course because they have previously re-sat exams or repeated modules for that current course will be exempt from demonstrating academic progression. 

English language requirements 

• Where a student is exempt from requiring a SELT because they have obtained a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors, Masters or PhD in a ‘majority English speaking country’, they will need to provide an original document from UK NARIC to confirm the qualification meets the required standard with their visa supporting documents. 

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate requirements 

• Dependant(s) of Points Based System Migrants will need to obtain clearance from the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) if they will be studying a Postgraduate course listed here. They will not be able to commence their studies until they have obtained ATAS clearance. You can find out further information about ATAS here

Further changes and clarifications can be found in the statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC667, 3 November 2016 (November 2016)

Student arrivals: 10 top tips

Coming to the UK to study this year? Here are Border Force’s top ten tips to make sure you have everything you need for a smooth arrival.

1. If you’re from a country not in the EU or European Economic Area, please complete the landing card given to you during your flight before you arrive at border control.

2. Have your passport ready. Remove it from any cover, and remember to remove sunglasses and hats before reaching border control.

3. Keep information about the course you’re studying in your hand luggage. This must be in paper copy (not an electronic copy on a tablet or phone). This includes your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) number or Short-term Student Visa letter.

4. Keep recent bank statements and details of where you are staying in your hand luggage, Border Force officers may ask to see this information.

5. Expect Border Force officers to ask simple questions about your stay in the UK when you arrive at passport control.

6. Do not bring in any meat or dairy products from outside the European Union (EU). There are restrictions on traditional medicines, food products such as fish, eggs and honey, and some fruit, vegetables and plants (including bulbs, seeds, cut flowers and tree bark).

7. There are also restrictions on the amount of tobacco, alcohol and gifts you can bring to the UK. If you exceed your duty-free allowance and do not declare them, all of your items could be taken away from you.

8. If you plan on travelling in/out of the UK more than four times this year, why not become a Registered Traveller. Members do not fill in landing cards and are able to access ePassport gates. Find out more here: www.gov.uk/registered-traveller 

9. You must declare cash of 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling from a country outside the EU.

10. Never give false or misleading information (including forged or counterfeit documents).

UEL & UKCISA Statement on EU Referendum

Statement from the United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) 

The UK held a referendum on 23 June 2016 to decide whether it will remain in the European Union. The result of the referendum was that 51.9% of those who voted chose to leave the EU.

Currently the UK remains a member of the EU and, therefore, there is no immediate change to the position of EEA nationals in the UK.

We do not yet know what the future implications will be for EEA nationals and their family members who wish to come to, or remain in, the UK to study. This will depend on how the UK and EU might agree to deal with transitional arrangements about the position of current and new students. We expect the detail to be negotiated now that the referendum has taken place. Any negotiations are likely to take some time, as there are many aspects of the UK’s relationship to the European Union which will need to be considered.

If you are an EEA national or the family member of such a person and are currently pursuing an application to study in the UK for the academic year 2016/17, please note that we do not yet know the longer-term situation, but will publish relevant information here as soon as it becomes available. See UKCISA EU Referendum information

UEL Advice to EU students

Current EU students: Your immigration status and associated fee status, as well as your access to the student loan book, have not changed as a result of the vote. This will remain the case until the government decides otherwise.

EU students with a place to start in academic year 2016/17 and 2017/18: At this stage, there is no reason to assume any change to your immigration status or access to student loans.

EU students studying in the UK under the Erasmus programme: Your immigration status has not changed, and you continue to be eligible for your Erasmus grant until at least as long as we remain a member of the EU - this could well be extended beyond this

UK students studying in the EU and elsewhere under the Erasmus programme: Your immigration status has not changed, and you continue to be eligible for your Erasmus grant until at least as long as we remain a member of the EU - this could well be extended beyond this.


IMPORTANT- TELEPHONE SCAMS

We have been made aware of a couple of scams: one which appear to be targeting Tier 4 students and .the other Lloyds Bank Customers

1. The student receives a telephone call from somebody who fraudulently says they are from the Home Office. The caller says that the student has not paid for an immigration service and, as a result, they have to pay a fine (usually £1200- £1520) or they will be reported to the Police/or Home Office who will detain or deport them.

**Students are advised that UKVI do NOT contact students in this way and you should not provide your bank details to the caller**

2.

Lloyds customers should be on the lookout for a new sophisticated fraud that involves fraudsters sending fake bank letters.

The convincing letters being sent are a replica template from Lloyds and include their logo, address and signature from a customer service representative.
The letter tells recipients that there have been some "unusual transactions" on their personal account and asks them to call a number highlighted in bold to confirm they are genuine.

When victims call the number, an automated welcome message is played and the caller is asked to enter their card number, account number and sort code followed by their date of birth. Victims are then instructed to enter the first and last digit of their security number.

The fraud was spotted by the Daily Telegraph who was alerted to it by a reader who had three identical letters sent to an office address. On separate occasions the Daily Telegraph ran some tests using fake details and were passed to fraudsters who claimed to be from a Lloyds contact centre. The bank has confirmed that the phone number and letters are fake.
The letters are essentially a sophisticated phishing attempt and serves as a warning to consumers to question written correspondence from their banks.

If you are ever suspicious about correspondence from your bank you should call the customer serviced number on the back of their card.

For further information regarding the latest scams go to the Action Fraud website
http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

If you receive a call of this type, please contact the International Student Advice Team immediately to look into this for you (isa@uel.ac.uk). If you receive a phone call and you are not sure if it is genuine, please also contact ISA to investigate. 

 

Tier 2- no changes for graduates switching from Tier 4

It is good news for UEL’s international students who hope to stay in the UK to gain some work experience after graduating. The Immigration Minister announced that graduates switching from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa in the UK would be exempt from some of the more stringent rules proposed for many other Tier 2 applicants.

Eligible Tier 4 graduates switching into Tier 2 in the UK will remain exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test and these graduates will not count towards the annual limit on Tier 2 (General) places.

The minimum salary threshold for new entrants will remain at £20,800.

In addition the Immigration Minister announced that employers would be exempt from paying the Immigration Skills Charge of £1000 per eligible migrant for an international graduate switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 2 visa.

Further information can be found here or contact ISA for more information (April 2016)

Working week clarification 2017

A number of changes to the Immigration Rules were published on 16 March 2017 and came into force on 6 April 2017. One of these changes concerned the clarification of the UK Visas and Immigration definition of a working 'week'.

Under these changes the UK Visas and Immigration define a working 'week' as 'a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday'. Tier 4 (General) students must ensure that their working pattern and hours fit this definition.

It is important that you ensure that you do not exceed your permitted hours of work.

If you work irregular hours and/or have more than one employer, you should keep detailed records of the work that you do every day to be sure that you are not in danger of breaching your work conditions.

Registered Traveller Service: lauched by Border Force to give faster and more convenient entry to the UK

If you are a national from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan and travelling to the UK on a Tier 4 visa you may be eligible to apply for the Registered Traveller service.

Members benefit from:

  • Access to ePassport gates at airports across the country
  • No need to complete a landing card on arrival to the UK
  • No credibility interview with a Border Force officer. 

Membership costs £70 and full details of eligibility and availability can be found online .

Archive: UK visas & immigration changes and updates

Changes in the Immigration Rules will come into effect from 6 April 2016 and will apply to everyone who is applying for leave on or after this date. 

The main changes which will affect students at UEL are as follows: 

Maintenance requirements for Student Union Sabbatical Officers 

Students applying for leave to remain under Tier 4 (General) as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer will be required to show their living costs for every month remaining on their course, up to a maximum of two months. 

Academic progression 

Tier 4 (General) students who are extending their leave to complete a qualification after a period as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer will be exempt from demonstrating academic progression.Tier 4 (General) students cannot study a course lower than their previous course. 

Immigration Health Surcharge for Australian and New Zealand nationals.

From 6 April 2016, nationals from Australia and New Zealand who come to the UK for longer than 6 months will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their application. 

English language requirements for US study abroad students 

Third country nationals applying under Tier 4 (General) to study a short-term study abroad programme in the UK as part of their degree at an HEI in the US will be exempt from the Tier 4 English language requirements. 

Engaging in business activity 

Tier 4 students with work rights will be prevented from setting up businesses in the UK, including where they are not the controlling shareholder. 

Calculation of time limits under Tier 4 

The new rules clarify that the period of leave granted and the level of course for which the leave was granted will be counted towards the caps on study, rather than (if different) periods and courses actually studied. Further changes and clarifications in the Immigration Rules including those relating to changing course with the same Tier 4 sponsor, NHS debt, extension and switching provisions for independent school students, maintenance requirements for postgraduate doctor or dentist students and Tier 4 sponsors converting to state schools can be found in the Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (April 2016)

The Home Office announced a number of changes to the Immigration Rules on 14th July. The rules change on 14th July, 3rd August and 12th November:


From 12th November:

  • Students at colleges will no longer be able to extend their Tier 4 visa in the UK (for example if they wish to start a degree course after their college course), nor will they be able to switch to Tier 2 or Tier 5 in the UK. Applications from outside of the UK will continue to be possible.
  • The maximum time allowed on a Tier 4 visa below degree level will be reduced to two years from three.
  • The "Established Presence" rules for lower maintenance will be removed and all students (and dependents if applicable) will be required to show the higher maintenance (regardless of time in the UK).
  • The amount of money required for living costs will increase to £1,265 per month of the course, up to a maximum of 9 months (or £11,385).
  • The amount of money that can be deducted from living costs (only if in UEL residences) will increase to up to £1,265 (if paid).
  • The amount of money that dependents will be required to show for living costs will increase to £845 per month of the course, up to a maximum of 9 months (or £7,605).
The UK Government has proposed changes in visa application fees. These proposed fees are due to be laid before parliament and it is likely that they will be introduced in April 2016. Some proposed changes are as follows:
  • Tier 4 Entry Clearance application from overseas: increase from £322 to £328
  • Tier 4 Leave to Remain postal application from the UK: increase from £439 to £448
  • Tier 4 Leave to Remain in-person application from the UK: increase from £839 to £948
  • Tier 4 Dependant Entry Clearance application from overseas: increase from £322 to £328
  • Tier 4 Dependant Leave to Remain postal application from the UK: increase from £439 to £448
For details of proposed fees for other visa categories and services, please see the fee table.

You can also see the news item from UK Visas and Immigration about the proposed changes

From 12th November:
  • Students at colleges will no longer be able to extend their Tier 4 visa in the UK (for example if they wish to start a degree course after their college course), nor will they be able to switch to Tier 2 or Tier 5 in the UK. Applications from outside of the UK will continue to be possible.
  • The maximum time allowed on a Tier 4 visa below degree level will be reduced to two years from three.
  • The "Established Presence" rules for lower maintenance will be removed and all students (and dependents if applicable) will be required to show the higher maintenance (regardless of time in the UK)
  • The amount of money required for living costs will increase to £1,265 per month of the course, up to a maximum of 9 months (or £11,385).
  • The amount of money that can be deducted from living costs (only if in UEL residences) will increase to up to £1,265 (if paid)
  • The amount of money that dependents will be required to show for living costs will increase to £845 per month of the course, up to a maximum of 9 months (or £7,605)
  • From 03.08.15: Further study at the same level will only be accepted where there is a link to previous studies and where there is evidence that this supports genuine career aspirations
  • From 03.08.15: When calculating the time limits for Tier 4 visas, the length of the visa will be counted rather than the length of studies previously.
  • From 31.07.15: The completion of the phased roll out of Biometric Identity Documents for visa applications made overseas - see Entry Clearance section for more details
  • From 14.07.15: Visas issued outside the UK will be valid no more than one month before the start date of the course or the intended travel date, whichever is later
If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa from outside the UK you will be issued with a vignette in your passport. If you are applying for leave for more than 6 months from Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or any other of the listed countries, your vignette will be valid for only 30 days and you will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) containing your full grant of leave from the Post Office within 10 days of arriving in the UK.

This will be introduced in other countries in three stages. All those applying for leave for more than 6 months will have to collect a BRP from the Post Office depending on the country in which they are applying for a visa and the date of application. (March 2015)

More information can be found on the Entry Clearance section of this website.

Additional to visa application fees, from 6 April 2015 a new National Health Service (NHS) surcharge of £150 per year of study will be introduced for Tier 4 students. For students making a Tier 4 (Entry Clearance) application outside the UK, this will apply if they are applying to study a course lasting 6 months or longer. For students making a Leave to Remain (extension) application in the UK, the surcharge applies for courses of any length. Tier 4 dependants will also be required to pay the surcharge. The NHS surcharge is mandatory, even if you have medical insurance.

More information on the NHS Surcharge can be found on our Tier 4 (April 2015)

From Monday 20 October 2014, if you or your dependants (spouse, children) apply for leave to remain on or after 20 October 2014 and are subsequently refused a visa, you will no longer have the right of appeal. The system for appeals in the UK has now been replaced by Administrative Review and will be subject to validity procedures, eligibility criteria and a fee of £80. If you wish to apply for an administrative review, you must do so within 14 calendar days (this includes weekends and holidays) starting from the day after you received your decision letter. Further information on the administrative review procedure can be found at the following link:

https://eforms.homeoffice.gov.uk/outreach/UKVI_Admin_Review_Guidance.ofml    (October 2014)

As of 16 October 2014, if you make an in time visa application which is subsequently rejected as invalid, your leave to remain will be statutorily extended under section 3C of the UK Immigration rules until the point of rejection. The same rule will apply to administrative review applications, following a visa refusal, until they are rejected as invalid by UK Visas and Immigration. (October 2014)
From the end of October 2014, Chinese nationals who have a UK student visitor visa, or one of many other UK visit visas, can also use that visa to travel to the Republic of Ireland. Travel to Ireland must take place after arrival in the UK. This provision will be extended to Indian nationals later this year. See www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-irish-visa-scheme for further details. (October 2014)
From November 2014, the evidential requirements for those applying for Tier 4 (General) leave using a Trinity College London qualification have changed. Certification for tests taken on or after 6 November 2014, must state “SELT Centre” on the test certificate. (October 2014)
From November 2014, your Tier 4 (General) student leave will be explicitly tied to the course for which your CAS was issued, unless the University of East London has agreed that you can stop your programme of study and begin a new programme of study with us. The new programme of study must demonstrate academic progression from your previous study, and be at the same or higher academic level than the programme for which the CAS was initially assigned.

For those applying on or after 6 November 2014, the acceptable financial institutions lists have changed slightly.

  • First Capital Plus Bank Limited has been removed from the list of acceptable institutions for Ghana.
  • International Finance Investment and Commerce Bank Limited and Standard Bank Limited have been changed from unacceptable to acceptable institutions for Bangladesh. (October 2014)

 

On Thursday 17 April 2014, the Education Testing Service (ETS), the company administering TOEFL examinations, decided not to renew its licence as a provider of Secure English Language Test (SELT). The Home Office subsequently confirmed that it will no longer accept any ETS tests, including TOEFL, as evidence of English language competency when considering a Tier 4 student visa application. This means that the University of East London (UEL) can no longer consider TOEFL tests for students who require sponsorship under the Tier 4 student route of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Points Based System, unless you meet the exceptions outlined in sections 1 - 2 below.

a. Applying in the UK - You took a TOEFL test before 17 April 2014 and are submitting a Tier 4 student visa application from within the UK on or before 30 June 2014 If you took your test in good faith before 17 April 2014, UKVI will consider your Tier 4 visa application for a course starting in September 2014 in the normal manner if you apply on or before 30 June 2014. Your application may be delayed while the Home Office makes further checks on your application. From 1 July 2014, ETS test certificates will no longer be acceptable as evidence of English language ability for a Tier 4 student visa application in the UK. Please contact our International Admissions team to arrange a free UEL English language test if you have not submitted your visa application by 1st July by emailing admissions.international@uel.ac.uk

b. Applying outside the UK - You took a TOEFL test before 17 April 2014 and are submitting a Tier 4 student visa application from overseas on or before 21 July If you took your test in good faith before 17 April 2014, UKVI will consider your Tier 4 student visa application for a course starting in September 2014 in the normal manner if you apply on or before 21 July 2014. From 22 July 2014, ETS test certificates will no longer be acceptable evidence of English language ability. You will need to use a test certificate from another acceptable SELT provider.

c. If you took a TOEFL test after 17 April 2014 or intend to take this to meet the conditions of an offer at UEL We can no longer accept a TOEFL test and you must take an alternative acceptable SELT test. We recommend either an IELTS or Pearson Academic. If you have booked a TOEFL and wish to cancel or seek further information on refund policies please contact TOEFL Services at toefl@ets.org If you are unsure about which level you require contact the International Admissions team: admissions.international@uel.ac.uk

d. If you do not need a Tier 4 visa If you do not need a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK, you will still need to adhere to the requirements outlined in sections 1 – 3 above. Please contact our International Admissions team if you have any questions relating to this matter: admissions.international@uel.ac.uk

IMPORTANT: Recent changes to UK Visas and Immigration (formerly known as the Home Office) rules and regulations

From 31st March 2014:

  • Algeria, Belarus, Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Ukraine will be added to the list of countries whose nationals need to take a tuberculosis (TB) test at an approved clinic before applying for a Tier 4 visa to come to the UK for a course of 6 months. More information available on the UKCISA website. For the full list of countries in which TB testing is required - see the Home Office Website

From 6 April 2014:

  • Low risk nationals will no longer be exempt from the credibility interview. At the same time, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be added to the list of “low risk” countries.
  • Students applying to join the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme, will no longer have to apply for a Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) renewal certificate if their course end date is less than 28 days after the date they apply.
  • Tier 4 (General) student visa renewal application fees will increase to £422 to apply by post, and £822 to apply at a Premium Services Centre. PBS Dependants visa application fee will also increase.

From 1 July 2014:

  • The required Tier 4 maintenance funds will increase for Tier 4 applicants and their dependants, for applications made on or after 1 July 2014.
The Immigration Rules change from 31 December 2013 so that people in many additional countries will have to obtain a certificate confirming they do not have infectious pulmonary tuberculosis before they make their immigration application to come to the UK. It depends on where the application is made, not the applicant's nationality. This does not apply to visitors including student visitors who apply to come for six months or less.The new countries added to the list include Nigeria & Russia.See the Home Office website for general information on the TB Testing requirements for entry to the UK.More information on TB testing in Nigeria can be found on the Home Office website.More information on TB testing in Russia can be found on the Home Office website
  1. Credibility and English language tests will be extended to applications made in UK The Home Office has introduced 'credibility interviews' as part of the Tier 4 student visa application process. This means that if you have applied for your visa but not yet received a decision, or have not yet applied, you may be asked to attend an interview. The Home Office will be verifying that you can speak English to required level, and whether you are a genuine student. Applications in UK: Credibility Interviews Affects all undecided applications. 

  2. Eligibility to apply for a dependant visa from within the UK You can now apply to ‘switch’ into the dependant category from within the UK if you are on any visa other than a visitor visa –if you are eligible to be a dependant. See Tier 4 dependants – Extension in the UK Affects applications made on or after 1st October

  3. Barbados added to list of Low risk nationals Affects applications made on or after 1st October

  4. New provision to switch from Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur into Tier 2 (General) You can now switch into Tier 2 (General) from the Tier 1(Graduate Entrepreneur) without having to complete the Resident Labour Market Test, if you are continuing to work in the same occupation for the same sponsor. There were previously five possible routes to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa: Switching from Tier 4 (General) , Shortage Occupations, Resident Labour Market Test, Job offer with salary of £150,000 per year or more OR Extension in same role, for the same employer. Switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) has now been added as an additional, sixth route.

  5. General and Business visitors can study for up to 30 days in total Applies to decisions made on or after 1 October

  6. Hong Kong will be added to Youth Mobility Scheme on 1 Jan 2014

For more information about the changes, please see the Home Office website.

On 10th June, the Home Office announced some changes to the immigration rules relating to Tier 4 applications. These changes include:

•Changes to which English languages tests are accepted as evidence of English skills

•Additional legal courses added to the exemptions from time limits on Tier 4

•Changes to the list of financial institutions deemed acceptable in Bangladesh & Ghana

•Additional countries in which a Tuberculosis (TB) screening is now required including:

oChina;

oEthiopia;

oGambia;

oHong Kong;

oIndonesia;

oMacau;

oMalawi;

oMorocco;

oSierra Leone;

oUganda;

oVietnam; and

oZambia.

More information can be found on the Home Office website

As part of the Tier 4 student visa application process for students applying from abroad, it is likely that you will be asked to undertake a short 'credibility interview', at the same time that you have your biometrics taken. This will be facilitated by the visa application centre at the British Embassy / High Commission (or designated agency) when you submit your visa application and will normally be via video-conferencing with the Home Office staff in the UK although it could be conducted in person or by telephone. For further information see Applying for a Student Visa in your home country

On 24 April the UK Border Agency issued the following announcement:

"Due to processing problems the City & Guilds English language certificates issued in Bangladesh are temporarily not accepted, in support of your visa applications.Until further notice, if you are submitting a certificate from this institution then please be aware that this could affect the outcome of your visa application.We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please check the UKBA News for further updates."If you think this may affect you, please contact the International Student Advice Team.

On 14 March 2013 the UKBA announced that:

From 6 April 2013 changes are being made to the student route (Tier 4). This will mean that if you are a PhD student completing your course, you can apply to stay in the UK for a further 12 months, beyond the end of your course to find skilled work or to set up as an entrepreneur.This will be known as the Doctorate Extension Scheme.Please see UEL updated pages on this scheme here and UKBA news here.

The ATAS Unit confirmed on 08 April 2013 that the new online process for ATAS applications will be available from Monday 15 April 2013. Where possible applicants are asked not to submit an application for ATAS clearance between mid-March and 15 April 2013. If you think that this might be a problem for your Tier 4 application, please contact the ISA team isa@uel.ac.uk, as we may be able to contact the UKBA on your behalf. See further information about ATAS clearance see http://www.uel.ac.uk/international/advice/student-visas/t4-extension-in-uk/index.htm#atas
If you are planning to use a loan as evidence of finances for a Tier 4 application, remember to check the Tier 4 Policy Guidance carefully. The requirements for the format of loan letters changed on 28 February 2013. Your loan letter must state that the loan is provided by a national government, a state or regional government, or a government sponsored student loan company or that it is part of an academic or educational loans scheme. You will not be able to use a loan that does not meet one of these requirements. See Tier 4 Policy Guidance http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/Tier4migrantguidance.pdf Paragraph 180(v).
We have heard reports of student being contacted by Capita (a contractor for the UK Border Agency) and being asked to provide evidence that they have made immediate plans to leave the UK if they no longer have leave to remain here. If this situation applies to you and you require urgent advice during the university closure period - see our useful links section for immigration advice services or check the Law Society website for immigration solictors
Student visa applications made in India from 1st November 2012 must be accompanied by a valid tuberculosis (TB) clearance certificate for visas longer than 6 months. You will not need a TB clearance certificate if you are coming to the UK on a 6 month student visitor visa. TB screening and certificates will only be accepted from a clinic approved by the UK Border Agency. Please see the list of UKBA approved clinics and the UKBA applying for a visa page for more information.

The UK Border Agency have published new application forms to be used for all Tier 4 and PBS applications. The ISA team are currently in the process of updating our interactive forms, but in the meantime you can find the new application form and help text here:

Tier 4

PBS Dependants

From 1 October 2012 the UK Border Agency will refuse all applications for further leave if you have overstayed your leave by more than 28 days at the point you made your application. Please see UK Border Agency news for more information.
The UK Border Agency have introduced changes that may affect applicants with current Tier 4 leave who are starting a new course at UEL. If you are applying to extend your Tier 4 (Student) leave the gap between the end of your current leave and the start of your Programme at UEL must be no more than 28 days. This change will affect all Tier 4 applications for further leave to remain that are made on or after 1 October 2012. Please see UK Border Agency news for more information.
On 13 July 2012 the UKBA published list of financial institutions in Cameroon and Ghana whose financial statements are accepted. For the full list, please check UKBA website.
A new Tier 4 Policy Guidance was published by UKBA on 9th July 2012. Please ensure that you have access to most updated version. For more information please check: Tier 4 Policy Guidance
Immigration Minister Damian Green has announced that a targeted interview system for students will be introduced this summer. Please note that you may be interviewed and asked a number of questions about your immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances. For further information please see UKBA website.
From 1 October 2012 if you have overstayed your leave by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be refused. If you would like to remain in the UK after the 28 day period you should leave the UK and reapply for a visa overseas. Please see UKBA website for more information.

On 14 June 2012 the UK Border Agency published new versions of the PBS Dependant Application Form and Policy Guidance on dependants of points-based system migrants. You should use the new form if you apply on or after 14 June 2012. Please see UK Border Agency for further information.

The UK Border Agency will be introducing additional countries for tuberculosis (TB) screening before visa application for migrants entering UK for over six months. Please see UK Border Agency website for further information.

The UKBA released a Statement of Intent on 13 February 2012, outlining their intentions for the next set of changes to the Immigration Rules. These changes were laid in the Immigration Rules on 15 March 2012, and began to take effect from 06 April 2012. 

Please see UKBA announcement for details of all the changes. 

We have provided a summary below of the main changes which may affect students at UEL. 

Please note - if you were unable to attend a Stop Press Briefing, these changes have now been incorporated into the monthly ISA workshops

Maintenance requirements 

On 6 April 2012 the amount of money you are required to show for maintenance increased to the following: 

Category
 
 Amount required
from 6 April 2012      
Previously required  
 Tier 4
 £1000 per month*  £800 per month*
 Dependants of Tier 4  £600 per month*  £533 per month*
 Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme  £1800
 £1600
 Dependants of Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme)  £600
£533 

 From 14 June 2012 the amount of money you are required to show for maintenance will increase to the following: 

 Category

Amount
required from
14 June 2012
Previously
required
 Tier 1     

 applying for further leave from within the UK  £900  £800
 applying for entry clearance from outside the UK  £3100  £2800
Dependants of
Tier 1
 where the main applicant has been in the
UK for less than 12 months
 £1800  £1600
 where the main applicant has been in the
UK for more than 12 months
 £600  £533
 Tier 2  £900  £800
 Dependants of Tier 2  £600 £533

*see Money Requirements for how many months to show. 

University accommodation payments

 If you pay accommodation fees to UEL, you will be able to deduct a maximum of £1,000 from the maintenance you have to show when you make your Tier 4 application, even if you have paid more than this. 

For example: Bemi is a new student who does not have a current visa, so is required to show the higher maintenance of £9000. She has a place in the University Halls of Residence, and has paid a deposit and rent in advance of £1200. She can therefore deduct £1000 from the £9000 she is required to show, and only has to show £8000. This would be in addition to any outstanding tuition fees that she may owe. 

Amount of time spent in the UK under Tier 4 

The amount of time you can study at degree level (NQFL 6 or above) on a Tier 4 visa will be limited to 5 years. When applying for a Tier 4 visa, the amount of time you have previously spent studying in the UK will be considered. When calculating whether or not the five year limit applies to you, all time spent studying in the UK at degree level or above, whilst on a Tier 4 visa or pre-Tier 4 visa (student visa issued prior to 31March 2009) will be taken into account. 

This will not apply to: 

• Architecture students 

• PhD students* 

• Students whose UG course was 4 or 5 years in duration who are now applying for a Masters course NB this does not apply if you take longer than expected to complete your course, for example to undertake re-sits. 

Only time spent studying is included - the period of leave granted after the course end date is not included. However, you are advised to be cautious about time counted towards the five year limit. *PhD students and applicants: You be exempt from the time limit while you study for your PhD. However, you will not be granted any further leave under Tier 4 once you have completed your PhD if this further grant of leave would result in you spending more than eight years in the UK as a Tier 4 (General) student. If you are unclear as to whether this applies to you, please email isa@uel.ac.uk. 

Staying to work in the UK after studies 

The Tier 1 PSW route closed on 6 April 2012. 

Graduates who have been awarded a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, a PhD or PGCE or PGDE are now eligible to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa, without your employer having to show that no one in the settled labour market could do the job before offering it to you. 

All other requirements for Tier 2 will still apply, that is, the visa is linked to the job, which must be graduate level with a salary of more than £20k or industry equivalent. 

Tier 2 migrants will be able to bring dependants. 

See Working After Your Studies for further information. 

Pre-sessional English Language Courses 

A CAS will be issued separately for the pre-sessional and main courses. If you have obtained a B1 Secure English Language Test certificate, it may be possible to issue a linked CAS covering both the pre-sessional and main courses. 

Graduate Entrepreneurs 

A new scheme was introduced on 6 April 2012 to allow those with “world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills” who are not ready to meet the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) requirements to remain in the UK, with sponsorship by their University. This scheme will be open to all Higher Education Institutions with Highly Trusted Sponsor status for Tier 4 with a limit of 1000 places for the first year. UEL is currently looking into this scheme and will update these pages in due course. See update on UKBA website for further details.

The UK Border Agency has published its lists of financial institutions that do not verify financial statements to the satisfaction of the UK Government. They are in India, Pakistan and the Philippines. The UK Border Agency has also published lists of institutions in those countries that do satisfactorily verify financial statements.
Who does this apply to?
Applicants and current students who are making a Tier 4 application using funds in India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
When was it introduced?
The lists of institutions whose accounts cannot be relied on for Tier 4 immigration applications became effective on 24 November 2011. If you apply on or after this date with financial documents issued by these institutions, the UK Border Agency will refuse your application. However, you should be aware that if you used documents from these institutions before 24 November 2011, your application runs a higher risk than usual of refusal because the UK Border Agency is likely to have problems verifying your documents. You should ensure that your funds are in an account with one of the institutions that is acceptable to the UK Border Agency before you make your immigration application.
Where can I find these lists?
Please see UKBA website for the most up to date lists.
What should I do if I am applying using funds in India/ Pakistan/ the Philippines?
Click on the link above and check if the institution where you are holding your funds is deemed acceptable by the UK Border Agency.
If the institution is not deemed acceptable, please email isa@uel.ac.uk with details of the financial institution, and when you are planning to apply for your visa. We can then advise on the most appropriate form of action, depending on your given timeframe.
Where can I find out more?
Please see UKBA news pages and UKCISA website for more information.

On 4th July 2011 the UK Border Agency implemented a series of changes to the Tier 4 rules (as part of their previously announced statement on proposed changes made in March 2011). Click here to see more about the changes that took place on 4th July 2011
On 31st March 2011 the UK Border Agency announced changes to the Immigration rules relating to Tier 4 Student Visas and Post Study Work, which will take effect at varying times from April 2011 to April 2012. Click here for more detailed summary of changes announced by the UKBA
Also check the UK Border Agency website for news and information. The closed consulation process regarding these changes can be found here.