23 March 2009

UKBA announces changes to tier 4 guidance

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The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced changes to the tier 4 guidance for migrants to Britain released last week.

Tier 4 of the new points-based UK immigration system replaces the UK student visa category.  The tier 4 category for adult and child students will go live on the 31 March, allowing international students to move to the UK for purposes of study.  There will be five UK visa types for students in this tier, including child student, child visitor, adult student, student visitor, and prospective student.

This means that those non-British nationals wishing to study in the UK must pass a strict points-based assessment before their UK visa would be approved.  Applicants can get points for doing a course with an approved institution (i.e. sponsored by an education provider with a licence to sponsor students), and having enough money to cover fees and cost of living (maintenance costs).  Maintenance costs must also have been in the applicants account at least 28 days before the UK visa application has been lodged.

The new policy guidance for all tier 4 applicants applying on or after the 31 March 2009 has undergone changes in the following paragraphs:

3, 6, 20, 30, 35, 64, 66, 67, 73, 81, 82, 84, 87, 89, 91, 95, 99, 102, 105, 108, 111, 114, 120, 123, 124, 125, 135, 136, 140, 141, 142, 164, 166

UKBA has highlighted the two most important paragraph changes for potential migrants to Britain, which are:
• 123: "The maintenance requirement for children under 12 who are accompanied to the UK by a parent or legal guardian has been corrected."
• 135: "A transitional arrangement has been introduced for migrants applying before 1 June, which affects how long the migrant is required to have held their funds for maintenance."

Paragraph 130 ("All evidence must be dated no more than one calendar month before you make your application.") has been removed from the guidance.

The latest version of the guidance can be found on the UKBA website.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

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