Following Damien Green’s visit to Bangladesh, the ban on Bangladeshi UK visa applicants was partially lifted on 22 July 2010, with those applying for foundation degrees, Bachelor programmes and post-graduate courses able to finally arrange a visa application appointment. The ban on all Child Student visa applicants was also lifted.
On 12 August 2010, the UK Border Agency lifted the ban on all courses expect English language. The suspension of applications for those wishing to join English language courses will remain under close review by the Border Agency.
Tier 4 applicants are required to make an appointment at a visa application centre in order to submit their Tier 4 visa applications. Appointments are free of charge. Guidance on how to schedule an appointment is available on the website: www.vfs-uk-bd.com.
On 12 August, the UK Border Agency will introduce a secure English language test requirement for Tier 4 (General Student) visas worldwide. Applicants who are studying courses below degree level, excluding a foundation degree and an English language course, need to pass a secure English language test. This test must be taken with a UK Border Agency-approved provider before the applicant applies for a CAS from the sponsor.
All applicants who make Tier 4 (General Student) visa applications to study the above courses from 12 August and using a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued from this date will need to pass a new secure English language test.
It is important that applicants follow the current Tier 4 guidance carefully, complete their applications fully and submit the correct supporting documents. There have been some significant changes to the Tier 4 policy in 2010. Tier 4 guidance and application forms are available to customers free of charge.
If applicants submit fraudulent documents or false information, their visa applications will be refused. They also face an automatic ban on entry to the UK for the next 10 years for any category of visa.
Applicants may be requested to attend an interview with the UK Border Agency as part of the visa application process.
1. The temporary suspension of new Tier 4 applications was implemented in Bangladesh on 1 February 2010.
2. With effect from 22 July, the temporary suspension is lifted for the following courses: foundation degrees (including the Scottish HND in (3) below), degree and postgraduate courses only. On 12 August the suspension will be lifted for other NQF 5 equivalent courses and below. The suspension will remain in place for English language courses.
3. A foundation degree means a programme of study which leads to a qualification awarded by a UK higher education institution with degree awarding powers, which is at a minimum of level 5 on the revised National Qualifications Framework (NQF), or level 8 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework. Further information about NQF levels is available at: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/standardsandquality/otherrefpoints/qualsboundaries.asp
4. Tier 4 (General Student) visas are for people coming to the United Kingdom for their post-16 education. Tier 4 (Child Student) visas are for children between the ages of 4 and 17 to come to the UK. Those aged between 4 and 15 may only be educated at independent fee-paying schools. Applicants aged 16-17 years studying on courses at NQF level 3 or above have a choice of making an application either in the Tier 4 General Student category or the Tier 4 Child Student category.
5. Tier 4 of the points based system was reviewed earlier in 2010 and a number of significant changes have been introduced. The main changes are as follows:
The electronic CAS has replaced the Visa Letter.
Students who are studying below degree level, excluding foundation degrees, are permitted to work a maximum of 10 hours per week (a reduction from 20 hours). Their dependents are not permitted to work unless they qualify in their own right under the points based system.
Students who are studying a course of 6 months or less are not permitted to bring their dependents with them.
A new “highly trusted sponsor” designation has been introduced for education providers that can offer courses at National Qualification Framework level 3 and Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 6 and below.
To study courses below NQF level 6, students need to be competent in English language to level B1 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Until now, it has been the education provider’s responsibility to test this.
6. The published Tier 4 guidance is available free of charge at: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/tier4migrantguidance1.pdf
7. Tier 4 visa application forms (VAF 9 and appendix 8 for General Students and appendix 9 for Child Students) are available free of charge at: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas
8. Applicants are required to demonstrate that they are proficient to at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Applicants who are intending to study a foundation degree or at degree level (NQF level 6) and above, or an English language course, are not required to take a secure English language test before applying for a visa. Education providers may however, request students to provide evidence of English language proficiency to ensure they are capable of following the course for which they have applied.
This post was submitted by Heron.