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International Visa Changes: Consultation

UK Borders Agency uniforms

UKBAOn 7 December 2010 the Government released its proposals for the reform of the student immigration system and launched its consultation on the reform. The overall aim of the reforms is to drastically reduce the numbers of migrants in the UK.

The impact of the proposals is potentially far-reaching and could affect current and prospective students, your dependants, the university and employers. It is therefore important that those who will be affected by the proposals voice their concerns. The Students’ Association will be responding to the proposals and would like to encourage you to provide your views on the following proposals to help us prepare our submission.


The full Consultation Document is available to download, but below are the highlights of the changes for your information.


No visas for students to study if not at higher level

  • Students wishing to remain in the UK to extend their studies after having completed their initial course will have to show clear evidence of academic progression. This means you would only be allowed to apply for your visa if the course you were moving onto was at a higher level than the current course. Can you see this causing you any difficulties?


No visa extensions in the UK for new courses

  • The UK Borders Agency (UKBA) is also considering whether students should be required to leave the UK and re-apply for another course from overseas. This means if you complete a course in June, and then have an offer to start a Masters or PhD in September, you would have to return home to apply for a fresh visa. What is your view about this proposed change?


Post Study Work (PSW) Scheme to be closed

  • The UKBA is proposing to close down the PSW route. This is likely to take effect from April 2011. This means if you graduate after this date you will not be able to remain in the UK to work for 2 years. Will this affect you? Did you come to the UK hoping to stay on to work under this scheme? What will this mean for your career plans? How important was the existence of the PSW scheme to you coming to the UK to study?


Limit rights to work during term time

  • Currently all students on a degree course have the right to work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week for any employer. Under the new proposals, students will only be allowed to work on campus during the week in term time. You would be allowed to work off campus during weekends and vacations. We are not clear whether the Government intends to also limit the number of hours you could work. These changes will also apply to any current student who needs to extend their visa for their current course or any new course.

Are you are currently working on campus or off campus? Do you foresee any difficulties in working for your current external employer if you are only allowed to work for them on weekends and vacations?


Remove right of dependants to come to UK unless student is on course of 12 months or more

  • Currently, students doing any course of more than 6 months can be accompanied by their dependants. The Government proposes to only allow students on courses of more than 12 months to bring dependants. This means if you come to do a language course of 8 months before you start your degree you would not be able to bring your partner or children. If this had applied to you would you have still come to the UK to study?


Remove right of dependants to work in the UK

  • Currently, all dependants of students here for more than 12 months have an unrestricted right to work in the UK. The Government proposes to remove this right. Dependants will only be allowed to work if they get permission under Tier 2 (which is being capped under other proposals from 1 April 2011) or Tier 1 (which for the most part is being abolished from April). This may affect current dependants if their visas are extended after these changes take effect. This means they would need to stop working if they are unable to get a Tier 2 visa. 


How important is it to you that your dependant has a right to work? If your dependant is not allowed to work what impact would this have on you?

Complete the consultation at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BDPMGTM

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