A new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules was published on 13 July 2015. This latest statement mainly affects Tier 4 Student Migrants, with some amendments also being made to administrative review procedure, family and private life rules, and visit visa rules.
- Amendments have been made to the maintenance requirements for Tier 4 Migrants, generally increasing the amounts required. Any new applicants should review the requirements carefully before applying.
- Existing students should note that the ‘established presence’ provision is being removed. All students must now show they have sufficient funds to support themselves throughout the duration of their remaining study, or for up to nine months.
- The length of time a Tier 4 (General) Student may spend studying further education courses (courses at National Qualifications Framework levels 3-5 and equivalents) will be reduced from three years to two.
- Tier 4 (General) Students at colleges are being prevented from extending their stay in Tier 4 or switching into any other points-based route, unless they are studying at a college recognised by the Home Office as an embedded college offering pathway programmes designed to prepare students for entry to a higher education course. Students at other colleges, who wish to go on to study in a UK university, will have to leave the UK and apply for leave to enter from outside the UK.
- Students who wish to extend their Tier 4 (General) leave will be required to demonstrate that they are moving up a level on the National Qualifications Framework, unless their new course is related to their previous Tier 4 study, or the previous course and new course in combination support the applicant’s genuine career aspirations.
- New students applying to study at publicly-funded further education colleges will now lose all work rights. Prior to the change, such students were allowed to work for a limit of 10 hours per week, however this is now being removed entirely.
- With effect from 14 July 2015, Tier 4 Migrants will now be granted entry clearance with a start date from either one month before the course starts, or seven days before the intended date of travel, whichever is later. This is to ensure that students wishing to travel to the UK close to or after their course start date can do so.
- Appendix AR of the Immigration Rules sets out the rules which are applicable to administrative review. This has been amended with changes coming into force on 03 August 2015 irrespective of when the application for which administrative review is sought was made. The main change is that under the current rules, applicants who received a refusal of their application and had applied in time and whose leave subsequently expired while their application was under consideration were given a 14 day period in which to seek administrative review of the refusal. Their leave to remain was extended during this 14 day period under Section 3C(1) of the Immigration Act 1971. However, under Section 3C(4) they were prevented from making a fresh application during this 14 day window because the application was treated as a variation application. The only way to validly submit a fresh application in this window of time extended by Section 3C was by submitting an administrative review waiver to the Home Office. This has been changed and applicants will now be able to submit a fresh application in the 14 day in respect of which administrative review is sought was made without having to submit any type of waiver. Submission of an application in this period will automatically end 3C leave.
- A number of other minor amendments have been made to Appendix AR and these are fully detailed in the explanatory memorandum to the statement of changes.
The full statement of changes can be accessed here.