International Student Visa Changes in the UK, Tier 4 becomes the Student Route.
On 5 October 2020, the UK government changed the immigration route for students. What used to be the “Tier 4” route has become the “Student” route. Most of the changes are not significant but they carry many benefits for international students looking to enroll in a UK university.
The UK Home Office said the new route treats all students equally, including students from Europe coming to study after the Brexit transition period ends at the end of the year.
“The new Student route improves on the previous Tier 4 route by making it more streamlined for sponsoring institutions and their students, creating clearer pathways for students, and ensuring the UK remains competitive in a changing global education market.” The UK Government released in a statement.
Students will need to acquire a total of 70 points to be granted leave. They will achieve the required points if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK.
The required 70 points are split into 3 sections for students to fulfill:
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies: 50 points will be awarded to students for college acceptance letter from an approved educational institution, that shows you have met the course requirement, approved qualification requirement, level of study requirement, and place of study requirement.
Financial Requirement: 10 points will be awarded for finances. Unless you are from a country that doesn't exempt you from providing documentary evidence, you must be able to show that you have the required money to cover the costs of your tuition, accommodation and maintenance (living costs) in the UK.
English language proficiency: 10 points will be awarded to Students who pass English Language Proficiency tests. Students who are not coming from a majority English-speaking country and who are entering the University to do degree level study need to provide evidence that they are proficient in English to the level of CEFR B2. Note that the university will require higher levels of English proficiency depending on the level of studies and subject, and such requirements will be stated in your offer letter.
The changes to the visa rules have plenty of terrific benefits for international students and they include:
More time to apply to UK Student Visa
Students applying from overseas can apply up to 6 months before their course start date.
Easier student visa extensions
Students can now extend their visa in the UK as long as they meet the requirements.
Students can work 10 hours per week and 20 hours for IYO students (International Year One).
Less documents required
Students who have been in the UK for 12 months do not need to submit financial evidence when applying in the UK. Students who have proven their English Language level in a previous application do not need to do so again.
Easier language requirements
IYO students can use an alternative non-SELT English test if they are at B2 in all skills. Students who have a GCSE, A-Level, or Scottish equivalent, in English Language or English Literature are exempt from English language requirement.
Work in the UK opportunity
The new Graduate route will allow students to stay for up to 2 years to find work after they finish their degree course.
Note that as of 1 October 2021, students will no longer be able to use EU, EEA, or Swiss national ID cards to enter the UK and will require a passport.
These changes will provide a lot of benefits to international students to make their experience much easier and will help them choose to study abroad in the UK.
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