Recent restrictions to the Tier 4 Visa should come as no surprise. Previously in a speech from UK business secretary, Sajid Javid, on July 10 he said that the UK visa system will not be loosened for international students, despite experts saying that doing so would improve Britain's slowing productivity. In fact the opposite is now happening. It is becoming more difficult for Tier 4 visa students to study in the UK.
The latest changes to the Tier 4 Visa announced on 13 July 2015 will now add even more restrictions on international students from outside the European Union. However, it will be students at publicly funded education colleges that will be affected the most. The changes for University students studying in the UK will not be so significant. Most of the changes will take place in August and November this year.
While launching the Conservative government's plan to boost productivity, Mr Javid said "We've got to break the link" between studying in Britain and being able to stay in the UK on a permanent basis.
Addressing an audience in Birmingham Mr Javid said: "We don't want a system where studying becomes a motive to settle in Britain and that's their only motive. People coming to Britain to study should be studying, nothing more."
Apply for Tier 2 work visas
It is already the case that in most cases Tier 4 visa graduates needs to apply for a Tier 2 General Visa to stay in the UK after graduation. However the Conservative Government are making things even more difficult still for Tier 4 students wishing to stay in the UK. Javid who supports these changes was criticised for his views on immigration by a spokesman at the Institute of Directors (IoD), who said that it would be detrimental to the UK's economy.
Head of employment and skills policy at the IoD, Seamus Nevin, said: "Mr Javid's proposals to remove international students following their graduation is misguided and would harm the country's education system, economy and global influence."
He added: "While other countries are welcoming foreign students, Britain is continuously making it more difficult and expensive for them to come here and settle. These proposals would simply have them removed once their studies are complete."
More Tier 4 visa students banned from working
It was recently announced that non-EU students attending publicly funded further education colleges would be banned from working while they studied. James Brokenshire, the UK's immigration minister, made the announcement with the ban coming into effect from 3 August 2015.
The move to ban some students from working is part of a 'new crackdown on visa fraud' says UK immigration. They said: "We want to make sure that UK student visas are used as intended, for study, not as a route into the country's job market."
Further Tier 4 visa restrictions
Other restrictions that the Home Office will be introducing from 12 November 2015 are as follows:
- A reduced maximum period of stay for Tier 4 visa students in further education; cut from three years to two
- Students at further education colleges prevented from applying to remain in the country to work under the tier 2 visa category upon completion of their studies, unless they leave the UK first.
- Further education students prevented from extending their studies in the UK, unless they're registered with an educational institution that has a formal link to a university
The Association of Colleges has warned the government that tighter UK immigration measures represent a massive risk to Britain's ability to attract overseas students. They said: "Stopping foreign further education students from continuing to study in the UK once their initial studies are complete will limit the progression of students from colleges to universities."
A more detailed guide on the Tier 4 visa changes can be found in a recent news report.