From Oxford University Student News: February 5, 2016

New online form for applying for a Tier 4 student visa.

The Home Office introduced a new online form for Tier 4 applications on 1 February 2016.

If you have already started an application using the previous form you will be able to access it through your account, but you must complete and submit it, saving any information about the application or your appointment, by midnight, Thursday 25 February 2016 when the previous system will be withdrawn. View more information here.

Home Office website

Many international students are concerned about recent news stories on changes to Tier 2 visas for working in the UK.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was commissioned by the government to review the Tier 2 visa category and their report and recommendations were published on Tuesday 19 January 2016. If accepted by the government and implemented, some of the recommendations will make switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 for employment more difficult. Recommendations include:

  • increasing the minimum eligible wage to £23,000 for new entrants and £30,000 for experienced workers. Minimums for specific occupations may be higher;
  • discontinuing the use of ‘unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship’ for those applying in the UK, meaning that such applications would in future be included in the annual Tier 2 cap;
  • discontinuing the exemption from the resident labour market test for those switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2; and
  • introducing an ‘immigration skills charge’ for Tier 2 employees of £1,000 a year.

Additionally, a change to the salary level required for Tier 2 visa holders applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent status) is to be implemented on Wednesday 6 April 2016. From this date applicants who have held a Tier 2 visa for five years will need to show a salary level of at least £35,000.

If in doubt about any of this information please take a look at the UKCISA website; This is  the independent student advice organisation which is likely to be a good source of updates on the proposals. If you can’t find the information you are looking for then contact the Student Advice Line at UKCISA.