5 July 2011

Significant changes to the Tier 4 student route of the points-based system came into effect yesterday 4.7.11
The application forms for Tier 4 have been revised. The new versions of these forms should be used with immediate effect.
From 4.7.11 the UKBA will;
- restrict work entitlements to migrants studying at higher educational institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded further education colleges only;
- restrict the sponsorship of dependants to those studying at postgraduate level at HEIs on courses lasting at least 12 months, and government-sponsored students on courses lasting at least 6 months;
- require education providers to vouch that a new course represents genuine academic progression;
- ensure that maintenance funds are genuinely available to the applicant, by introducing a declaration on the visa application form;
- commit to publish a list of financial institutions that we consider, on the basis of experience, do not verify financial statements to our satisfaction in more than 50 per cent of a sample of cases;
- introduce a streamlined application process for low-risk nationals applying to attend courses with Highly Trusted Sponsors;
- extend the list of courses for which students must receive ATAS clearance;
- restrict the ability to deliver accountancy courses accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to those sponsors accorded platinum or gold status by ACCA; and
- clarify the position of overseas universities with campuses in the UK.
You can find the revised guidance for Tier 4 sponsors on the UKBA website.
There are also a small number of changes being made to bring into effect:
- a new provision for other family members of refugees and beneficiaries of humanitarian protection;
- a minor correction to the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) provisions and clarify a requirement of the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Tier 1 (Investor) Rules; and
- a small number of minor corrections and technical changes to the Rules relating to English language requirements for partners and spouses.