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Recent immigration changes – Tier 4 student route. Claire O’Leary Senior International Student Adviser International Office. Background. Coalition Government pledges to cut net migration by the end of the Parliament

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recent immigration changes tier 4 student route

Recent immigration changes – Tier 4 student route

Claire O’LearySenior International Student Adviser

International Office

  • Coalition Government pledges to cut net migration by the end of the Parliament
  • Student migration route is the biggest route – claim that student numbers will be cut by 80,000
  • December – end January 2011 consultation period on some significant changes to Tier 4
  • Robust lobbying from the HE sector and NUS has brought about some better outcomes
  • Changes to Tiers 1 and 2 announced 16 March 2011
  • Changes to Tier 4 including Tier 1 Post Study Work announced 22 March 2011
changes and their impact
Changes and their impact
  • Change: Closure of Post Study Work from April 2012
  • Impact on: Student Experience, Recruitment, reputation of Warwick and UK
  • Not much detail on how switching into Tier 2 will work yet
  • No Resident Labour Market Test and no cap
  • Must have already obtained a graduate-level job offer
  • The minimum salary must be £20K or the minimum salary set by UKBA for particular occupations
communicating the changes
Communicating the changes
  • The IO has communicated the proposals and the actual changes to students via email to all internationals, frequent updates to our ‘latest news’ page, newsletters and by workshops
  • IO colleagues overseas working with British Council to clarify the changes
  • The Immigration Service web pages have been entirely overhauled for ease of use – you will find a lot of useful information there:
your questions page 1 5
Your questions – page 1/5


  • Do I or my husband need to return home to apply for an extension of our leave to remain? No, you can both apply for an extension from within the UK provided you, the student, are still studying.
  • Can my dependant still work in the UK? Any changes to dependants’ working permission?Yes, there was no change to the working permission of dependants. From July 2011, only the dependants of postgraduate students on courses of at least 12 months will be able to obtain entry clearance. (We are seeking confirmation that this change won’t affect any dependants of UG students currently in UK).

Your questions page 2 of 5

Can an unmarried partner apply for a Tier 4 dependant visa?

  • Certain members of your family can apply to be in the UK as your ‘dependants’. The rules are different, depending on whether you were granted your student immigration permission:
  • under ‘Tier 4’ of the Points Based System (which came into existence on 31 March 2009) and you applied for your immigration permission on or after 3 March 2010; orunder ‘Tier 4’ of the Points Based System and you applied for your immigration permission before 3 March 2010; orunder the ‘old’ immigration system that was changed, for students, on 31 March 2009
  • For full details on applying for a dependant visa for your unmarried partner, including advice on financial evidence see:

If so, what kind of documentation is needed to prove that the couple are in a relation akin to marriage? Useful advice on this issue is given on the following website: do I prove that I have been living together in a relationship for two years?

your questions page 3 of 7
Your questions page 3 of 7
  • I am a current MSc student, am I entitled to apply for PSW and stay for 2 more years?Yes, PSW stays exactly the same until April 2012, so provided your degree is conferred and you apply for PSW before April 2012 (and you can submit the right financial evidence and other documentation), you will be granted permission to live and work in the UK for a maximum of 2 years.
  • What are the requirements for PSW? Full details are at:
your questions page 4 of 7
Your questions page 4 of 7
  • Once PSW is removed, can I stay in the UK provided I get a job before my Tier 4 visa expires? Who would be my visa sponsor and what salary must I be earning?Yes, provided you obtain a graduate-level job from a company that is willing to sponsor you, you will be able to switch from being permitted to stay in UK under Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (skilled employees with a job offer). Your company would be your Tier 2 sponsor. Your minimum salary must be £20K or higher according to the salary set out in the UKBA Code of Practice for various occupations:
your questions page 5 of 7
Your questions page 5 of 7
  • Do employers have to apply the Resident Labour Market Test to graduates applying for PSW?No, not if you are switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 before your Tier 4 visa expires.
  • What does the RLMT consist of? If there is an appointable (not necessarily the best) candidate from the UK or European Economic Area (EEA), the job must be offered to them, rather than to someone from outside the EEA.
  • Does PSW give you entry clearance for 2 years? Yes
your questions page 6 of 7
Your questions page 6 of 7
  • As a foreigner with a PSW visa, can I go to other countries and re-enter UK without any problem during this 2 year period? Yes, it is a multiple-entry visa so you can come in and out of UK until the visa expiry date. You may need to apply for entry clearance in order to enter other countries. Each time you enter the UK, you must be intending to work or look for work – that must be your primary intention for returning the UK on a PSW visa. Also, you should always bring with you evidence of your finances eg bank statements whenever you are re-entering UK.
  • I am an MSc + PhD student. Will I be able to make a smooth transition on to the PhD? Can I get a CAS before I have completed the MSc?
  • This depends on the entry requirements for the PhD, whether or not your admission to the course is dependant on you passing the MSc. If it is then we would need to wait until your degree had been conferred by Senate.
your questions page 7 of 7
Your questions page 7 of 7
  • Would a postdoctoral fellowship meet the requirements for switching into Tier 2 from Tier 4, if the minimum salary was £20K or more? Would it be possible to do a combination of teaching and a fellowship like Warwick’s IAS under Tier 2?
  • The International Office put this question to Warwick’s HR department today and they confirmed that provided the fellowship is a full-time position with a minimum salary of £20K , you could be issued a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship. Furthermore, they confirmed that the minimum salary for the Warwick IAS would be at least £20K to enable international graduates to qualify.
  • Do you have to have completed your degree in order to switch into Tier 2?Under the current rules, you do not need to have completed your degree in order to apply for permission to stay under Tier 2. However, you do need to make sure you have obtained the minimum score in all of the criteria: It is likely that the Tier 2 rules may change from April 2012.
further advice on tier 4 changes
Further advice on Tier 4 changes
  • www.go/immigration (University of Warwick Immigration Service)
  • (UK Council for International Student Affairs)