Summary of changes to Tier 4 and Tier 1 from 6 April 2012
Working in the UK after you graduate
“From 6 April 2012, the UK’s post-study work visa scheme (part of Tier 1), will close to new applicants. However, if you want to work in the UK after you complete your studies, you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa.
Tier 2 will be open to recent graduates with a Bachelor or Master’s degree, PhD, PGCE or PGDE from a UK recognised or listed body. Applicants must have an offer of a skilled job from an employer who is a licensed sponsor with UKBA. The job must also meet certain salary criteria.
Are you a budding entrepreneur? The government is also to launch a new scheme called Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur). Here, UK universities who sign up to the scheme will be able to act as the immigration “sponsor” for students who have who have completed a degree course in the UK and who wish to develop ideas or entrepreneurial skills by setting up a business in the UK. You need to be sponsored by the institution where you studied. Places on this scheme will be limited to 1000 in the first year.
Aside from these two new schemes, graduates might also want to consider applying for a Tier 5 ‘temporary worker’ visa (http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/tier5/). To be able to apply for a visa under most Tier 5 categories, you must have a job offer from a licensed sponsor, and you must pass a points-based assessment. There are different requirements under the Youth mobility scheme.
Find out more at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk”
“When applying for a Tier 4 student visa, you need to demonstrate that you will be able to support yourself financially as a student in the UK by showing you have prescribed amounts of maintenance funds available.
From 6 April, this prescribed amount will rise to reflect the cost of living in the UK. For example, adult Tier 4 students will now need to show they have £1000 for each month of their course up to a maximum of nine months in inner London, or £800 per month for other regions of the UK. The amount for dependents and Tier 4 Child visas will also rise.
This change is designed to ensure students have a comfortable experience in the UK and can support themselves financially. The good news is that the UK is very competitive - both for tuition fees and living costs.”
Amount of time you can study in the UK with a Tier 4 visa
“From 6 April 2012, students on a Tier 4 visa will be limited to spending five years on courses at degree level. There will be exceptions if your undergraduate degree course was four or five years long and you want to study a Master's degree or PhD at a higher education institution (recognised body or institution in receipt of public funding), or if you are studying a specific course: architecture, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and science, law, music studied at a conservatoire.
This should not affect the majority of students. The good news is that many UK undergraduate degree courses can be completed in three years, and many masters courses in a year."
Working whilst you study on a Tier 4 visa
“Many international students who study in the UK are keen to work alongside their studies to supplement their finances, gain work experience and get to know the local community. In fact for some students, it is part of their course to complete a work placement.
With a Tier 4 visa, many students are able to work in the UK alongside their studies during vacations, and part time during the week. You can check whether you are eligible here:
From 6 April 2012 onwards, there is a change for Tier 4 students who plan to do a work placement as part of their course. If you are studying a course below degree level and/or you are not at a higher education institution, any work placements must be limited to one third of your total course time (currently the limit is 50 per cent). For those studying at degree level or above at a higher education institution, you can spend 50% of your time on a work placement.
See http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk for more details.
UK schools, colleges and universities with Tier 4 students
“In the last few years, the UK government has introduced tough new regulations for UK schools, colleges and universities who wish to teach international students. This has helped to improve the quality of UK education more than ever, and it shows!
In the 2011 HEFCE 'National Student Survey' conducted amongst students at higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs) in the UK, around 265,000 final-year students responded. 83 per cent were satisfied overall with their course and 84 per cent were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their courses. You can find out more here http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/hefce/2011/nss.htm"
English language requirements for a Tier 4 visa
On 6 April 2012, the rules for Tier 4 English language requirements will change slightly.
The English language rules will remain unchanged except for the ending of a transitional concession in respect of pre-sessional courses for those students with an unconditional offer for a degree level course at an HEI. The rules permit such students who do not have B2 level English to be issued a single CAS to attend a pre-sessional followed by the main course, provided they have attained B1 level, as attested by possession of a B1 SELT certificate. The concession waived the B1 SELT requirement where the HEI had carried out its own assessment. From 6 April this concession will no longer apply, so that the B1 SELT will be a pre-condition of attendance on a pre-sessional linked to the main course on a single CAS.
The previously announced English language rules will apply, in summary that B1 with a SELT certificate from a body approved by the UK Border Agency is required for study below degree level (NQF 6); and B2 with a SELT at degree level and above. For those studying at degree level at an HEI, the HEI may make its own assessment of B2 competency rather than relying on a SELT. Those studying English language must have B1 level, with a SELT certificate. B1 and B2 standard must be attained in all the component elements of the test (reading, writing, speaking, and listening). Students may be refused a visa if they cannot speak English without assistance.
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