There have been significant changes to the Tier 4 student visa category recently. The Tier 4 student visa changes include the following:
- You will only be allowed to work in the UK if you are a student sponsored by higher education institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded further education colleges. You will be able to work part-time during term time and full-time during holidays.
- You will only be able to sponsor dependants if you are a student sponsored by a higher education institution on postgraduate courses lasting 12 months or longer, and if you are a government-sponsored student on courses lasting longer than 6 months;
- You will only be allowed to continue studying in a new course if the educational institution confirms that the new courses represent genuine academic progression from previous courses studied in the UK.
- There will be a streamlined application process if you are considered to be a low-risk national sponsored by Highly Trusted sponsors.
Students have in the past been attracted to the UK because they have been able to work while studying and because there was in many cases a route to permanent residence and eventual citizenship in the UK. There has been a significant reduction in the number of students who are allowed to work in the UK. Tier 1 Post Study Work will be abolished in April 2012. UK immigration is making it increasingly difficult to gain permanent residence in the UK. In the long term further restrictions on student immigration to the UK may very well cause damage to the UK economy.