UK Tier 4 student visa English Language Tests and other changes

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

UK Immigration is making or has already made a number of significant changes to the UK tier 4 visa scheme for students:

Secure English Language Tests

If you wish to come under Tier 4 (General) on or after 12 August 2010 and will be on a course below NQF Level 6 you must at an English language ability at a minimum of level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This excludes Foundation Degree courses or an English language course.

Your Tier 4 sponsor must show the following for you:

  • You are from a majority English-speaking country
  • You have successfully completed a course as a Tier 4 (Child) student and were granted permission to remain in the UK while you were still under 18 years of age. The course should have lasted at least six months and should have ended no more than two years before the date when the confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is assigned.
  • You have passed an English language test with an approved test provider for Tier 4 visas, and have reached at least CEFR level B1 in all four areas being reading, writing, speaking and listening.

English Language Requirements

UKBA has made changes following the successful Judicial Review brought by English UK. The amended immigration rules provides details of the minimum levels of English for different types of courses allowed under the Tier 4 visa scheme.

From 23 July 2010 the minimum English language course will be at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference. This is the situation before the judgement in the Judicial Review case.

There will continue to be exemptions to the minimum English language level. The exemptions will apply if you are a government-sponsored language students and if you are undertaking a English language course to improve your English before your degree course.

Students wishing to change to a different College or other place of study

If you are a tier 4 student you can change to a sponsor with a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) licence while waiting for a decision from UKBA on your application. However, this is not a guarantee that your visa will definitely be granted.

If you have applied to study at an A or B rated sponsor rather than at Highly Trusted Sponsor you will have to wait until your application is approved before you can start at the new educational institution. UKBA says that they will give priority treatment to applications to study at an A or B rated sponsor.

US student loans

There have been recent changes in the US with respect to the processing of US Government student loans. UK educational institutions in the William D Ford Federal Direct Loan Programme have from 1 July 2010 been able to offer Federal Direct Loans to US students wishing to study in the UK under the Tier 4 visa scheme.

Tier 4 Students with International Baccalaureate qualifications

If you gained your International Baccalaureate qualifications on 5 July 2010 you will not have your paper transcript in time to apply for University in September. UKBA will therefore accept a print out from the UCAS or International Baccalaureate Office online checking service confirming your results.

UK Tier 4 student requirements continue to become tougher. You will find further details of the Tier 4 visa scheme on the website "The World's most popular immigration advice site".