29 May 2009

Tier 4 rules for UK student visa causing non-compliance campaign

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The new tier 4 category under the points-based UK immigration system is causing universities to threaten a non-compliance campaign, reports the Times Higher Education.

The rules of the tier 4 system for the UK student visa, which were introduced March this year, require the educational institutions to have a licence to accept international students to study at their campus.  The rules also require universities to report any person UK student visa holder who entered through the tier 4 category to the Home Office if they fail to attend a required amount of classes.

The Home Office believes this will deter those internationals who use the UK student visa system to enter the country and then not attend university, yet universities do not believe they should be bearing that burden and that the stringent rules have already begun to affect the number of UK student visa holders at British universities.

"At the University of Glasgow, 15 to 20 per cent of overseas applications have run into the sand," said Jim Guild, a representative of the University and College Union at the University of Sussex.

Nine UCU branches across the country have already announced their vote to boycott the new tier 4 rules.

Bryan Bennett, spokesperson from the Middlesex University, said that the union needs to be loud and clear about their intention to boycott the tier 4 rules.

"Members need to know that they have the full weight of the union backing them up – at the moment they’re not sure," he said.

Elizabeth Clear from the University of London shared an example of an overseas student who has expressed her frustrations at the new points-based UK immigration system.  The student wanted to switch to a part-time course but because of the new system has been told to return home before sending in her UK visa application

"In the past, the change would have been straightforward," Ms Clear said.


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