Student Visa Changes and the New UK Points Based Immigration System
The Home Office has introduced a new Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules ‘HC 707’ that will affect student visa applicants under the new UK points based Immigration system. In this blog we look at student visas and how students will be affected by the points based Immigration system.
student visa Solicitors
If you are worried about your student visa application or are concerned about the changes to the student visa application process call the student visa solicitors and specialist immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available by video conferencing, Skype or by telephone with one of our expert immigration solicitors .
What are the student visa changes?
On the 10 September 2020, the government produced a first Statement of Changes for the new points based Immigration system and said that Immigration routes will be simplified in accordance with the recommendations of the Law Commission.
For students the simplification process involves a change of name. Immigration solicitors refer to Tier 4 visas when they talk of student visa applications but under the new points based Immigration system student visa applications will be dealt with by Appendix ST for student visa and Appendix CS for child student visa applications.
Just to confuse student visa applicants there are further appendixes aimed at simplifying things, namely:
- Appendix ATAS
- Appendix English Language
- Appendix Finance.
When will the student visa changes come into force?
How will the student visa Immigration Rules changes affect student visa applicants?
The main point to note is that it is made clear that after the 1 January 2021 students from the EU will require Student Visas to come to the UK to study. That is, of course, because of Brexit and the end of free movement for EU nationals in December 2020.
If you are an EEA national wanting to apply for a student visa you will only be able to make an application for a student visa from within the UK after the 1 January 2021. If you are an EEA national applying for a student visa from outside the UK any visa will be granted to take effect after the 1 January 2021.
Immigration solicitors say that it is worth emphasising that if you are an EU citizen who hopes to study in the UK then provided you are already living in the UK or you move to live in the UK before the end of free movement in December 2020 and you apply for pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme before the cut-off date then you should be free of Immigration control. If you are not sure of your post end of free movement Immigration status it is best to speak to an immigration solicitor about your settled status options.
Other student visa changes include:
- The new appendixes ST and CS set out when an application made for a student visa is valid
- A student visa applicant must provide a confirmation of acceptance for studies reference number that must be issued to them before the date of application to make a valid visa application
- If applying for a student visa from within the UK you can't be on Immigration bail
- If you need the consent of a government or international sponsorship agency then you must have that documentation at the date of your student visa application
- If you are in the UK on a visa you can apply from within the UK to switch to a student visa provided that you aren’t in the UK on a standard visitor visa, in the UK as a short-term student, the parent of a child student, a domestic worker in a private household, a seasonal worker or if you are classed as being in the UK outside the Immigration Rules
- You can apply for your student visa up to six months before the start of the course if you are applying for the visa from outside the UK. At the moment the time frame is three months. The three month timeframe remains the same for student visa applications made from within the UK
- The time limit of eight years on studying courses at postgraduate level is removed although the government has retained the limit of five years for degree level courses
- You must meet an English language but you will meet the English language requirement if you have a GCSE, A level, or Scottish Highers in English in the UK which you obtained while under the age of eighteen years
- The government has made some changes to the financial requirement so that you have more flexibility over where funds can be held provided that the funds can be accessed immediately
- If you are a student applying for permission to stay in the UK and you have been living in the UK with permission for twelve months or more on the date of your application then you will not need to satisfy the student visa financial requirement.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
If you are planning to come to the UK on a student visa or are contemplating switching to a student visa in-country from within the UK then it is best to take legal advice on your student visa application and how the student visa Immigration Rule changes might affect you if you make your application after the 5 October 2020.
student visa Solicitors
If you need advice on your student visa application contact the immigration law team at OTS Solicitors for help. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available by video conferencing, Skype or by telephone. Our expert immigration solicitors are here to take your call and answer your Immigration questions.