Press & Video Release



Visa overstayers will be refused under new UK Immigration Rules

The UK Border Agency has announced important changes to the way applications from visa over-stayers will be treated.

 Starting 1 October 2012, if you have overstayed your leave or permission to stay in the UK by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be automatically refused.

The Government will incorporate this change into the Immigration Rules and will affect applicants applying for further leave or visa extensions under:

·         the points-based system;

·         all working and student routes;

·         visiting routes;

·         long residency routes;

·         discharged HM Forces; or

·         UK ancestry routes.

This change has been incorporated in the new Immigration Rules coming into effect for the family migration route from 9 July 2012.

Last month the Home Office announced that from 9 July 2012, if you want to marry a foreigner (non-EEA European Economic Area nationality) and live in the UK together you must earn £18,600. 

The right to appeals against a refusal for a family visit visa will also be abolished this month.

The UK Border Agency has advised applicants with limited leave to remain to ensure that they apply to extend visa in time – before the visa expires.

If you wish to remain in the UK after the 28 day period then UKBA says ‘you should leave the UK and reapply for a visa from your home country’.

Immigration Rules change

The majority of changes in Immigration Rules come into effect on 6 April 2012, however some of the changes to Tier 2 will affect those who were granted leave after 6 April 2011.

The changes include:

Migrants under the points-based system

Tier 1 – high-value migrants

·         Closing the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route.

·         Introducing the new Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route.

·         Introducing new provisions for switching from Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post-study work) into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).

·         Renewing the 1000 place limit for Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) for each of the next 2 years.

Tier 2 – skilled workers

·         Limiting the total amount of temporary leave that may be granted to a Tier 2 migrant to 6 years (which applies to those who entered after 6 April 2011).

·         Introducing a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 or the appropriate rate for the job, for Tier 2 general and sportsperson migrants who wish to settle here from April 2016 (with exemptions for those in PhD level and shortage occupation categories).

·         Introducing a ‘cooling-off period’ across all the Tier 2 routes. Tier 2 migrants will need to wait for 12 months from the expiry of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa.

·         Introducing new post-study arrangements for graduates switching into Tier 2.

Tier 4 – students

Implementing the final set of changes to the student visa system that were announced in March 2011, including:

·         Extending the interim limit for sponsors that have applied for educational oversight and Highly Trusted Sponsor status and have not yet been assessed.

·         Introducing limits on the time that can be spent studying at degree level.

·         Tightening work placement restrictions.

Tier 5 – temporary workers

·         Limiting the length of time temporary workers can stay in the UK, under certain Government Authorised Exchange schemes, to a maximum of 12 months. The schemes affected are intern, work experience and youth exchange type programmes.

·         Allowing sportspersons who enter under the Tier 5 creative and sporting sub-category to undertake some guest sports broadcasting work where they are not filling a permanent position.

Changes in all tiers of the points-based system

·         Making curtailment mandatory where a migrant under Tiers 2, 4, or 5 of the points-based system has failed to start, or has ceased, their work or study with their sponsor. This includes cases where a sponsor notifies us, via the sponsor management system (SMS), that a migrant is no longer pursuing the purpose of their visa. The Rules will also set out the limited exceptions to mandatory curtailment.

·         Reducing the curtailment threshold (the level of leave you have left which means that we will not normally pursue curtailment) from 6 months to 60 days.

·         Increasing the funds applicants will need to provide evidence of, in order to meet the maintenance requirements for all routes in the points-based system. For Tier 4 and Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme the changes will come into effect on 6 April 2012. For Tier 1, Tier 2 and temporary workers under Tier 5 the changes will come into effect on 14 June 2012.


·         The new visitor route will allow a small group of professionals, artists, entertainers and sportspersons who are invited to come to the UK to undertake short-term permitted fee paid engagements for up to 1 month.

Overseas domestic workers

Restricting all overseas domestic workers (ODW) to only work for the employer with whom they entered the UK, or whom they came to join.

The right for all migrants under the ODW category to apply for settlement will be abolished.

UK share of overseas student market set to grow

A British Council report into the global Higher Education (HE) market will show how well placed UK universities are to take advantage of growth in the sector, according to the Guardian.

Next month the British Council will publish the results of a major investigation into the global HE market over the next decade, which will highlight yet again how well placed UK Universities are to take advantage of the growth in higher education in the 21st century.

The report predicts that the UK will take a bigger share of the growth in overseas students than the US with almost 30,000 more enrolments per year by 2020. One of the reasons for this is that the biggest growth in overseas students will come from India which still has strong cultural connections with the UK. There are also significant opportunities to make money by creating campuses overseas or by collaborating with other providers to deliver degrees in other countries.

Last year there were half a million people studying entirely outside the UK on a programme delivered at least in part by a UK institution.

Higher Education is now the UK’s fifth largest service export and well placed to become even more important to our economy.

The British Council report is packed with 81 pages of analysis and tables and the consistent message is that the UK has been passed the ball in front of an open goal. But it’s an opportunity we could still muck up.     

Student visas can be cancelled if a student changes college without permission  As thousands of international students move from college to college, care needs to be taken to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. One wrong move and you could find your visa being cancelled by the UK Border Agency.

An Immigration Adviser, who has dealt with number of students whose Tier 4 and pre-Tier 4 visas were suddenly curtailed by the U.K. border agency within weeks of their former college reporting their premature departure, declared:

“We have seen students’ visas cancelled shortly after they stop attending the college which granted them permission.”

Some of these students had left their college without completing their course and without applying for new permission. In many cases they also owed substantial sums in unpaid fees.

Their new providers seemed quite happy to enrol them without bothering to take up a reference from the previous college or offering any advice to the student. This can have serious repercussions for the student later on down the road when it comes to renewing their visas without an ‘established presence’ in the UK.

If a student has changed college, does he/she have the new permission from UKBA?  Also, has the new college checked their reference and attendance record from the previous college? These factors can affect students’ leave to remain.

Students were advised to check their visa and student status as holding a visa does not guarantee them stay in the UK.

What should students do if their college Tier 4 Licence is suspended

It is estimated that thousands of students are studying at colleges which previously appeared on the UKBA Tier 4 Sponsors Register, but were later suspended. 

If you learn that your college name no longer appears on the list of approved sponsors, a wave of panic might trigger throughout the campus. But do you need to change college immediately?

Many students hurriedly join another college, in many cases only to later discover that their new college also receives a suspension. 

What are the immigration rules?

The UKBA publishes the following guidance on the ‘Studying in the UK’ section its website: 

Tier 4 licence suspended

Before you apply to come

You can still apply for permission to come to the United Kingdom but we will hold your application until the suspension is resolved.

Before you travel to the United Kingdom

If you have a visa letter that you got before your approved education provider’s license was suspended, and have already been granted permission to enter the United Kingdom, but you have not yet travelled, we will try and contact you to tell you not to come until we have resolved the suspension.

If you do travel to the United Kingdom

If you do travel to the United Kingdom, you will be allowed to enter and start studying with your approved education provider.

If you are already in the United Kingdom studying

If you are already in the United Kingdom and studying with your approved education provider, we will not tell you if we suspend their licence. However, if the result of the suspension is that your approved education provider loses their licence, we will tell you and your permission to stay will be limited.

If you are extending your stay

You can still apply to extend