Tag Archives: tier 4 student visa

Indian Students to be Given Permission to Work for 6 Years After UK Graduation

British High Commissioner to India James Bevan goes on the charm offensive to show that the UK is open for business.

In an attempt to tackle the “myth” that Indian students can no longer work in the UK following completion of their studies, Mr Bevan spoke recently saying the situation is in fact quite the opposite.

Mr Bevan gave a speech in India, claiming Indian students could remain in the UK to work for up to six years as long as they get “graduate-level jobs” paying at least £25,000 per year.

His speech was in response to the large drop in the number of UK student visas being granted to Indian students. The numbers of Indian students being granted a student visa have dropped from 30,000 in 2011 to 20,000 in 2012. Mr Bevan did admit his belief was that the UK’s tougher student visa regulations were to blame, particularly the removal of the Post-Study Work route, which allowed students to remain in the UK and work for two years following their studies, at whatever level and salary.

Mr Bevan did reaffirm the UK Coalition Government’s aim of attracting more Pune and Indian students to the UK: “Eight of ten Indian students who applied for student visas got them. Any genuine student will get a visa. One of the reasons for the drop is also that for four to five years, many Indian students were getting enrolled in low quality or fake universities mainly for the purpose of working in the UK. Now, the number of students has reduced but the quality has gone up.”

However, on his second trip to Pune since becoming High Commissioner in May, Mr Bevan added that there was a real drive for UK educators to open overseas campuses in India, and Pune in particular, as it is often referred to as “the Oxford of the East.” He said, “The Northampton University and Lavasa are thinking of a tie-up, which should fructify in the near future.”

Bevan also stated he wanted to see more British investment in Pune and more Indian investment in Britain: “From a business perspective, we are keen on investing in sectors like automobiles, aerospace and information technology, in which Pune has a strong foothold.”

Little information was provided during his speech to backup his claim that Indian students would be able to work for a further six years after graduation. Your comments are most welcome.

UK Universities Unharmed by Tightened Visa System claims UK Immigration Minister

The UK’s Immigration Minister Mark Harper has recently accounted that the UK Higher Education sector has not been harmed by changes to Tier 4 of the Points Based System, and that British Universities continue to attract “the brightest and the best.”

Speaking to The Pie, an online education magazine, Mr Harper said, “We are not harming genuine students. More university students are coming here and bogus students are being kept out. There is no limit on the number of students who can come to the UK.”

On coming to power in 2010, the UK’s Coalition Government pledged to reduce net migration levels to the tens of thousands while stamping out abuse of the system. During his interview, Mr Haper did concede that the number of Tier 4 student visas granted has fallen by around 20% in 2012, but was adamant this drop came from non-university students. In other words, Mr Harper believes the tightening of the student visa system has adversely affected the Further Education sector, and not Higher Education. He went on to claim that there had actually been a 1% increase in the number of international student migrants studying at university in the UK in 2012.

Further, Mr Harper strongly suggested that UK Further Education colleges were guilty of selling immigration not education. He said that the fall in the number of student visa grants was because 500 Further Education colleges had lost of not renewed their Tier 4 sponsor licence, meaning they could no longer sponsor students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Stating that too many UK colleges had “sold immigration not education”, Mr Harper defended his government’s action to remove abuse from the student visa system.

Despite there being a sharp drop in the numbers of students from India and Pakistan – a drop of around 25% in 2012 – the Minister for Immigration was optimistic about the future. He cited a rise of 9.6% in non-EEA applications to study at UK Universities, figures derived from a report released by UCAS – the UK’s Universities admissions body – in January 2013.

Mr Harper concluded that, “Numbers from India and China have seen big increases. This shows that, despite stories to the contrary, [international] students continue to want to come to the UK to study at our world class universities…By protecting the reputation of the British education system, we will be able to compete in a global race.”

I’ve been issued a Child Student Visa instead of General

hi. I am from mozambique. I received recently my student visa for uk. But my entry clearance as an error instead of tier 4 general they put tier 4 child. What should i do know? I am still in my country now and my concern is whether it will be a problem or not.

This post was submitted by nelsa massingue da costa.

Can International Students work after their course is over?

Hello,

I am an international Student in UK on a Tier 4 General Student Visa.
Currently on my passport it says, that I am allowed to work only 10 hours per week during term time.
However, I would like to know that once my course is over which is about 4 months before the expiration of my Student Visa, can I then work for those 4 months without any troubles?

I mean, say for example, my course is getting over in Dec 2011 and my visa Expiration date is Jun 2012, so can I work for those 6 months as my course will be already over well before my Tier 4 General Student Visa Expires.

This post was submitted by Tania Rao.

Part 1: Making the UK Unattractive

Letter to Stephen Gilbert MP on Student Visas from LSE Students’ Union. Part 1 of 3: Making the UK Unattractive

Dear Mr Gilbert

Thank you for the productive meeting this afternoon. The purpose of this memo is to provide you with written documentation of the outstanding problems students identify in the Government’s proposed immigration and student visa changes.

I represent perhaps the UK’s most international research university student body: 80% of postgraduate students at the LSE are from outside Britain. As an LSE alumnus yourself, I know you understand that the proposed immigration policy poses a tremendous threat to the character and quality of education at the globally-renowned LSE.

Moving forward, I would be delighted to draft a joint letter with you for a meeting with Tom Brake MP, Co-Chair of the Committee on Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities. That meeting is still to be scheduled.

1. Policy disincentives abound to detract high-quality international students

If the details of the immigration bill are parsed, it becomes clear the proposed changes will put off international students from applying and attending British universities.

A. The end of Post-Study Work visas has a universal negative effect on the UK’s appeal

Losing PSW will have an enormous effect. Instead of providing a promise to students who earn their degree that they will be able to work in the UK, the promise is substituted with a risk: namely, if you come to the UK to study and earn your degree, you’ll need a £24,000 job lined up before you’re done. Even then, you’ll only get to stay a year—if you want more time, the job must pay an unheard-of for early professionals £40,000. LSE has gathered substantial evidence that students may simply no longer apply, and not only from countries where the British exchange rate coupled with international tuition fees is especially onerous.

Without the two-year unrestricted post-study work guarantee, the risk of attending university in the UK is much greater than anticipated gains. Hardly any jobs offer the income jump required to stay after just one year. A one-year of professional experience in the UK is neither enough to make a significant imprint on a CV nor repay the cost of tuition, frequently in the range of £30,000 total.

B. 5-year study limit restricts ‘the best and the brightest’

The 5-year study limit at sub-doctoral level is poorly conceived and will push away some of ‘the best and the brightest’ the policy aims to retain. To provide just two examples: (1) Students who study foreign language stay on their undergraduate course for 4 years, and often desire 2-year masters’ degrees. These students—whose capacity for global diplomacy and trade is enhanced by their multilingualism—will not be able to follow their desired sub-doctoral (perhaps leading to doctoral) courses in the UK. (2) Architecture, medicine, and other degrees take upwards of 7 years. These students would also be incentivised to look elsewhere for their programme.

C. Cutting off undergraduate dependents cuts off cultures

The practice of some religions, including Islam, necessitates travel with family members or spouses. The proposal to cut the undergraduate dependent route is nothing short of a clear and xenophobic warning shot to students who may very well excel in studies but practice a different faith. For even non-religious mature students, the inability to bring a spouse or child for an undergraduate degree would surely be considered a deal-breaker. Lastly, human rights legislation at the International and EU levels on the right to family life may mean there is little unchallenged room for free manoeuvre in this category. Judicial challenges would be expensive for the government.

D. No transparent standard has been used to determine the high/low risk categories

The Government has already put in place a formal high/low risk bifurcation for countries. The UKBA is to consider this when scrutinizing visa applications. Objectively, this is discrimination, so the question remains: How will this list of countries be generated, and on what quantitative evidence is it based? And most importantly, it is going to solve the problem of visa abuse, or merely delay visas, frustrate both bureaucrats and applicants, and encourage prospective students to select a school under more liberal immigration regimes, like Australia or Ireland?

 

Part 2: Economic Effects

Part 3: Politically Driven

Part 2: Economic Effects

Letter to Stephen Gilbert MP on Student Visas from LSE Students’ Union. Part 2 of 3: Economic Effects

2. Negative net economic effect

In a Martin Rosenbaum BBC article of 14 April, it is disclosed that the Treasury—alongside free-market think tank Adam Smith—is dour on the effects of immigration cuts on the economy. The Treasury’s “broad argument is that cutting immigration of skilled workers would reduce the UK economy’s potential for growth. It also states that migrants tend to make a positive contribution long-term to the UK’s fiscal position.”

Students currently contribute around £8 billion to the UK economy. That figure does not include the economic gains from students on a Post-Study Work visa, for which estimates are difficult to come by but logic would dictate is somewhere in the hundreds of millions to low billions of pounds in stimulus, plus taxes. If no argument from Section 1 on the impact of this proposal passing seems compelling, let it be this: The UK will be perceived as anti-student migrant, and the result will be a weaker UK economy.

Despite a gloomy speech from the Prime Minister on 14 April, qualified students do not come for a ‘free ride’. (That erroneous metaphor came from Mr Cameron’s misinterpretation of an airline’s free-flight advertisement while touring a British educational fair in India.)

To the contrary, students compete globally for scholarships, university places, and jobs afterward. Many do get jobs immediately afterward, though certainly not often with the possibility for £40,000 within a year. They pay high taxes and create new links for UK firms around the globe. This soft power helps grow the economy and direct investment to the United Kingdom, as opposed to other English-speaking nations.

A different way of looking at the problem comes from the academic world of economics. The UK, unlike most continental European counterparts, functions under liberal market capitalism. By closing off its internal market to migrants who not just shore up service sectors but also college students and graduates who fill professional roles (often quite low-paid), the UK is actively undermining its own neoliberal model. This is all to say nothing of the reality of ‘soft power’, from which Britain yields untold benefits as seeming accessible to ambitious, smart young people from across the world.

The negative publicity generated by the immigration debate is already affecting student recruitment. LSE has collected data showing that Indian and Chinese students—financiers, engineers, and workers Britain needs for economic success—are discouraging younger peers from applying because of the withdrawal of the Post-Study Work visa route. Students may go to Australia, Ireland, Canada, or the United States; or they may simply find a university elsewhere among rapidly improving local options.

 

Part 1: Making the UK Unattractive

Part 3: Politically Driven

Part 3: Politically Driven

Letter to Stephen Gilbert MP on Student Visas from LSE Students’ Union. Part 3 of 3: Politically Driven

3. Lack of consideration for Liberal Democrats’ views

The proposal at hand does not address the real challenge: Cracking down on bogus institutions that offer fake degrees in exchange for high fees and a student visa. It is, to the contrary, a blunt political instrument of the powerful anti-immigration wing of the Conservative Party.

Nicholas Watt’s Guardian piece of 14 April 2011 quotes a Liberal Democrat source as saying that “Nick [Clegg] and Vince [Cable] are very proud to have worked hard to get the policies where they are. The Tories wanted a student migration cap. That has not happened.”

Yet the reality is that if these restrictions are imposed, they will create the same effect—many fewer students coming to the UK. What matter is a ‘cap’ or not if the plan will dramatically cut students? Those students who do come will be more likely to exclusively pursue high-income careers like banking, or come from means that support the high international fees and limited acceptable work opportunities available under the new regime.

The stated Conservative goal is to “reduce immigration to the tens of thousands.” The Liberal Democrats favour an earned amnesty for illegal migrants who have lived in the UK for a decade. The manifestos of the parties—independent of each other—on the role of migrants in British society are clearly distant. The proposal on the table strikes a balance that, I hope to have shown, is far afield of Liberal Democrats’ views.

Despite the understood arrangement of Coalition, the immigration policy is surely a bridge too far. The result of the policy will be a Conservative one, but it is asking for Liberal Democrats’ votes to pass. It actively undermines an understanding of Britain as a nexus of high-quality education and a country dedicated to maintaining a global footprint.

Out of respect for your own party’s supposedly immutable values—free and successful markets that build a globally respected Britain—I would urge you and your Liberal Democrat colleagues to vote against the proposal at hand.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to your response and working together to create a smarter student visa policy.

 

Part 1: Making the UK Unattractive

Part 2: Economic Effects

New Student Visa Rules for the Future

Following our summary of the new student visa rules in place from 21 April 2011, we’ve had requests for a similar simple approach to the future Tier 4 student visa rules changes. So here it is!

July 2011 Onwards

Your Family (Dependants)

There will be only two types of student who will be able to bring their dependants to the UK during their studies: postgraduates and government sponsored students. Students must be studying a course of 12 months or more in duration.

Students should be sure to check with their education provider what duration of course has been entered on their CAS. Some Masters courses in the UK can be as short as nine months, so be sure to check if you want to bring your dependants with you.

If you qualify to bring your dependants with you during your studies, they will be able to work full time during their stay.

If you do not meet the requirements to bring your dependants all is not lost. You could consider having them come to the UK as visitors. But, there stay would be limited to just six months and they would not be able to work. They could of course come using any other route of the Points Based System, should they qualify.

Low Risk Students

Students from the following countries should not need to submit any financial documents or previous qualification certificates in support of their student visa application:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • British National Overseas
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

Do remember though that it is a requirement to have access to the required maintenance money and that students from the above countries could still be asked to produce proof. Any documents that you could be asked to submit must meet the criteria laid out in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance documents.

Time Limit on Staying in the UK

Students will have new limits placed on the amount of time that can spent in the UK on back-to-back student visa.

The good news is that students of specialist courses that take longer to complete – Dphil, medicine, architecture etc – will be excluded from the limits.

Students studying at either postgraduate or undergraduate level will only be able to spend a maximum of five years in the UK.

Students following courses below undergraduate level will be able to stay for only three years.

There is concession made for students who will study a combined course of below and above undergraduate level study. These students will be able to remain in the UK for a maximum of eight years.

If students are following one of the exempt courses above, they are eligible to stay beyond the eight years if their course demands it, however, students will not be able to apply for a new Tier 4 visa if they have already been in the UK for more than eight years.

Academic Progression

Any student who is extending their student visa in the UK and will not be studying a new course at a higher level, their education provider will have to explain the situation in their CAS. A common example of this would be a student studying two consecutive Masters Programmes.

Students are advised to liaise with their education providers and/or agents to make sure the wording in the CAS properly explains the situation.

April 2012 Onwards

Closure of Post-Study Work Route

The current Tier 1 Post Study Work visa, allowing graduates to remain in the UK for two years following their studies to look for work, will be closed.

Post-Study Work will be replaced by a new class in Tier 2 of the UK’s Points Based System: the Work Permission Route. Graduates will now require a job offer from a UKBA registered sponsor with a minimum salary of £20,000 in order to remain in the UK following their studies.

Students must apply to switch to Tier 2 before their current Tier 4 General Student visa expires. Importantly, these Tier 2 applications will not come under the Coalition Government’s immigration cap, in any way.

The Demise of Tier 1 and the Threat to Business Education

There is no doubt that following the scrapping of Tier 1 Post-Study visa of the UK Points Based System student numbers are down. Many UK business schools have reported enrolments down compared to this time last year. The Association of MBAs contacted its 47 member education providers in the UK and discovered shocking concerns. Over 90% of members were against scrapping the post-study route, citing fears of damage to competitiveness, reputation and finances, not only of the schools themselves, but also the wider economy.

MBA degrees are targeted primarily at mature students who already have a wealth of business experience behind them. Many are taking the next steps in advancing their careers, often spending between £30,000 and £50,000 on tuition alone. According to a recent survey by the Association of MBAs, 51% of students are self-funded, 32% receive company sponsorships, 10% use bank loans and none receive government assistance.

The message of the Coalition’s immigration policy is precisely the opposite of the slogans: the UK is to all intents and purposes “closed for business”. The UK is also loosing the talent its universities are producing: it will become much harder for graduates to use the specialised knowledge, skills and networks that they have learnt during their course in the wide UK economy.

Before the UK introduced the Points Based System and the Post-Study Visa, the majority of international students graduating in the UK immediately returned home. There were simply few opportunities available in the UK and students. What has been important for providers of business courses in the UK is that the post-study route gave students an increased perception of opportunity, making the UK a highly attractive study destination. Sadly, this perception has now been deeply dented once again.

Unintended Consequences

Scrapping the post-study work route will have many unintended consequences and ultimately sends out a negative message about brand UK:

  • Reduced competitiveness: UK business schools will lose out to their competitors across the world. Currently 8 UK business schools are in the Top 50 of the world, but rankings rely on attracting the brightest and the best.
  • Loss of diversity: Internationalisation is a key ranking factor for universities and a reduction in international student numbers would harm UK business school rankings. Further, diversity and mixing with a broad range of cultures are pillars of the best business programmes.
  • Reduced revenue: Universities face the prospect of tight spending cuts and a significant loss in revenue from lost enrolments following the scrapping of Tier 1 Post-Study Work. In 2008, 73% of all students enrolled at UK business schools were international students. That is an average of 126 international students per UK business school. A serious amount of money.
  • Reduced labour force competiveness: A reduced recruitment pool of graduates in the UK will make international companies less willing to base or continue to base their operations here.
  • Wider UK economy damaged: Overseas business school graduates are a major export industry and boost UK investment in the long term due to the networks and ‘good will’ generated during their time as students. The UK currently trains, influences and exports business leaders from major global financial centres. In 2008, students from outside the EU comprised of 83% of all international students enrolled at UK business schools. The top non-EU feeder countries were: India (19%), China (5%), Nigeria (5%), the United States (4%), Singapore (4%), United Arab Emirates (4%), Malaysia (3%), Russia (3%), Egypt (3%) and South Africa (3%). A total of 83 countries were reported.

Global competition

The UK already faces strong competition from business schools in Europe, North America and Australia, markets which offer attractive employment opportunities to graduates. And high quality English-language MBA provision is expanding rapidly in emerging economies such as China, India and Latin America—these are the highest growth regions for accreditations by the Association of MBAs.

UK schools must compete at the highest level to attract students to its programmes and the consultation has already had a negative impact on MBA providers. While the new policies are not as bad as initially anticipated, the damage of the debate is already done. Much has been made in the foreign press, particularly in emerging markets, of the bad atmosphere for foreign students in the UK.

And while Tier 2 visas remain an option for graduates, many smaller companies such as start-up business ventures lack the resources and infrastructure to deal with the complexities of the bureaucracy surrounding that process.

Fresh Student Visa Changes – A New Loophole?

The changes to the UK student visa system announced by the Home Secretary Theresa May this afternoon could open a new loophole, warns an organisation representing 450 accredited language centres.

Students entering the UK for a year or more will be tightly regulated, as colleges bringing them in on General Student Visas under the Points-based System must now have Highly Trusted Sponsor status and be inspected by Ofsted. But the Government risks losing control of students entering for up to 11 months on an (Extended) Student Visitor Visa, which is outside the PBS.

Tony Millns, English UK’s chief executive, commented: “The danger is that Entry Clearance Officers will not check that applicants for Student Visitor visas are in fact enrolled at accredited colleges, and will approve visas which allow bogus students to come to dodgy colleges with no controls or even proper classes. It would be a disaster if a crackdown on one route allowed abuse to happen through another. The extended SVV is a good route for relative beginners who needed extra time to reach the language level required for a PBS General Student Visa, and we do not want to lose it because of abuse by non-accredited colleges.”

English UK has welcomed several aspects of the Government’s package on student visas, while assessing some changes more critically. “Overall the package of measures is more targeted than the original proposals, and we shall be looking to work with UKBA and Ofsted to make sure that the majority of our member colleges who already have Highly Trusted Sponsor status can continue with that under the new arrangements.

“Finally however we must say to the Government that the UK’s international education sector, one of the few growth areas of the economy right now, has had 5 years of continuous rapid change in the visa system and requirements, and once these changes are introduced there should be no further changes for at least 2 years to restore confidence around the world that it is possible to come to the UK to study.”

English UK agrees with the decision to leave the English level for pre-degree courses at B1, broadly equivalent to a top-grade GCSE, as “welcome and sensible”. It also believes setting maximum visa terms of 3 years for courses below degree level, and 5 years (except for courses such as medicine and architecture) for first degree level and above, is broadly sensible and realistic.

However, it says the Government has “missed a trick” by not basing its approach on payment of course fees (or a significant proportion of fees) in advance, and the concept of visa officials deciding which banks can be trusted or not extends the powers of the UK Border Agency into commercial dealings worldwide.

It is concerned by the discriminatory and anti-competitive decision to outlaw the right to work for students on courses at private colleges, even though these courses may be franchised by a university whose own students can continue to work for up to 20 hours a week.

English UK is also concerned that some genuine students may be deterred from studying at British universities by the new regulations on language requirements, dependants and post-study work. The decision to require students on degree courses to have level B2 English (equivalent to a top-grade A level/university year one) will either restrict access to a considerable number of universities or will increase the numbers of students who have to take an international foundation year course before moving on to a degree, making it effectively a 4-year course. The restrictions on the rights of students to post-study work and to being accompanied by dependants during their courses will deter an appreciable number from coming to the UK, with a backwash effect on the number coming for preliminary English language and international foundation year courses.