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Sep 15 2014

UK Student Visa Rules to Get Stricter Come November


New regulations of the Immigration Act announced by the UK Government means fewer student visas will be offered to foreign students.

UK student visa norms have been notoriously stringent and they will get a lot stricter from November this year. Hence Indian students will find it harder to get visas and travel to the UK for education. The rules will be imposed on colleges and universities that accept foreign students for education in the UK. The move is bound to have a dramatic impact on the number of International students being able to pursue their academic aspirations at these educational institutes.

Some of the changes in Immigration Rules for Tier 4 applicants that are published by the Home Office and relevant for students include:

  • Tuberculosis test before applying for the visa.
  • The amount of money a Tier 4 applicant or their dependant needs to show and the maximum deduction for accommodation fees already paid to the Tier 4 sponsor. The maximum deduction from the required maintenance will increase from £1000 to £1020. In most cases you will need to show 9 months’ worth of funds but if you have an “established presence” you can show up to two months’ worth of funds based on the monthly figures provided.
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate will be required for certain courses.
  • Work restrictions for Tier 4 applicants’ dependants will include that of working as a professional sports player or a coach. According to the Home Office, it has been “designed to prevent applicants from circumventing the requirement to be endorsed by the relevant UK Sports governing body in the dedicated [sponsored work visa] categories.”

It’s interesting to note that the number of foreign students going to universities in the UK has dropped dramatically in recent times. For the first time in about three decades, Indian students are thinking hard about picking UK as the destination for their studies. There have been many UK universities that have been trying to woo Indian students with scholarships. But the new regulations might work against their moves to attract Indian students. Cambridge VC came out in the open speaking against these new policies by the UK Government that could detract Indian students from enrolling with these universities. In June this year he spoke about his opposition to quotas and other strategies employed to keep a lid on net immigration to the UK.