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Rules Changes to Tier 4 Visa Routes

Important changes are happening to Tier 4 visa routes


On 13 July, the UK Government announced a package of changes to the Immigration Rules. Many of these relate to the Tier 4 student route of the Points-Based System.

These changes will help reduce immigration abuse where it exists, whilst ensuring the UK maintains a competitive offer and attracts the brightest and best international students. The UK continues to welcome genuine students to our world class universities.

The main changes for those applying in the Tier 4 student routes are:

From August 2015 * New students at publicly funded colleges will not be able to work. This brings work rights for new students at publicly funded colleges into line with students at private colleges.

  • University students will only be able to study a new course at the same level where there is a link to their previous course, or the university confirms that this supports the student’s career aspirations. This will be supported by credibility interviews and sanctions against universities who abuse this rule.

From November 2015 * College students will not be able to extend their Tier 4 visas in the UK unless they are studying at an embedded college. This means they will be required to leave and apply for a new visa from outside the UK if they wish to study another course.

  • College students will not be able to switch visas to Tiers 2 or 5 in the UK, and will be required to apply from outside the UK.

  • The time limit for study at further education level will be reduced from three years to two years. This brings the maximum period into line with the length of time British students generally spend in further.

  • Tier 4 dependants will no longer be able to take a low or unskilled job, but will be allowed to take part-time or full-time skilled employment.

Further information on all Rules changes, including those above, can be found at:

Published 16 July 2015