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1. Relevant Immigration Rules
The applicant must, if required to do so on examination or interview, be able to demonstrate without the assistance of an interpreter English language proficiency of a standard to be expected from an individual who has reached the standard specified in a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) assigned in accordance with Appendix A paragraph 118(b) (for the avoidance of doubt, the applicant will not be subject to a test at the standard set out in Appendix A, paragraph 118(b)).
To qualify for entry clearance as a student the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) must be satisfied that the applicant is a genuine student.
Where false representations have been made or false documents or information have been submitted (whether or not material to the application, and whether or not to the applicant’s knowledge), or material facts have not been disclosed, in relation to the application or in order to obtain documents from the Secretary of State or a third party required in support of the application.
Failure, without providing a reasonable explanation, to comply with a request made on behalf of the ECO to attend for interview will result in a refusal. The ECO should also refer to the full general grounds for refusal at paragraph 320.
2. Caseworker guidance
2.1 Genuine student rule – guidance for entry clearance officers
- An application should not be refused under paragraph 245ZV(k) without the applicant having been interviewed unless one of the following circumstances apply:
(i) The applicant has previously been refused because an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) has not been satisfied that he is a genuine student, and there have been no material changes in his circumstances or new evidence since that refusal. An ECO should exercise caution when considering whether there has been a material change in his circumstances and where there is any doubt should conduct an interview; or
(ii) Following a significant number of recent very similar or identical applications in that post, ECOs have satisfied themselves by interviewing a sample of these applicants that the applications are not genuine.
- ECOs are reminded that where an applicant:
(i) Cannot speak English to the expected standard without the aid of an interpreter (effectively that they do not have a basic standard of English), - the application can be refused under paragraph 245ZV(ca); and/or
(ii) Has used false representations - the applicant is to be refused under paragraph 320(7A).
3.It is for the applicant to prove that they are a genuine student.
4.In assessing whether the applicant is a genuine student, ECOs must take into account all the evidence available from the application and from the interview. If, having reviewed the application, they have one or more reasonable doubts that the applicant is a genuine student and an interview has been conducted, ECOs should take into account all the following factors insofar as they are relevant, and any other relevant matters before deciding whether they consider, based on their expertise in assessing entry clearance applications and the evidence available to them (including any omissions in such evidence), that the applicant meets the requirement of paragraph 245ZV(k).
The following issues are not a checklist and must not be used as such. They are a guide to assessing whether an applicant satisfies paragraph 245ZV(k). These examples will not be appropriate to all cases and ECOs may consider other relevant matters that arise in the particular circumstances of each case.
i) The immigration history of the applicant and any dependant, in the UK and other countries, for example:
- Previous visa applications for the UK and other countries, including reasons for any visa refusals;
- The amount of time the applicant has spent in the UK or other countries on previous visas, and for what purpose; or
- Whether the applicant has complied with the terms of previous visas for the UK and other countries.
ii) The applicant’s education history, study and post study plans, for example:
- The amount of time that has elapsed since the applicant last studied, and whether the applicant has sound reasons for returning to, or commencing, formal study in this area, particularly after any significant gap;
- Whether the applicant demonstrates sufficient commitment to the course;
- Whether the course represents academic progression;
- The credibility of the applicant’s rationale for, knowledge of, and level of research undertaken into, the proposed course of study and sponsoring institution, and living arrangements in the UK;
- The relevance of the course to post-study plans in the UK or overseas; or
- How the circumstances of any dependant may affect the ability or motivation of the applicant to study.
iii) The personal and financial circumstances of the applicant and any dependant, for example:
- The economic circumstances of the applicant and any dependant in their region in their home country;
- Whether the applicant has credible funds to meet course fees, and living costs for himself / herself and any dependants for the duration of the course in a UK city, with limited or no ability to work in the UK;
- How the applicant was able to acquire the necessary funds for course fees, as well as accommodation in a UK city and living expenses in a UK city for themselves and any dependant;
- The distance between the applicant’s place of study and their proposed accommodation in the UK:
- The average monthly expenditure for the applicant and any dependant in a UK city; or
- The applicant’s personal circumstances, where these would make it difficult to complete a full-time course of study.
The ECO should take account of the fact that the applicant will need to make a considerable investment in gaining a qualification from the UK.
iv) The qualification, course provider and agents, for example:
- If the applicant is applying to study towards a qualification or attend an institution that is under investigation or has been identified by the Home Office as an institution of concern in relation to immigration compliance; or
- where the application is being managed by an agent about which there are concerns, that may be an indication the applicant is not a genuine student.
v) Where an applicant will be accompanied by a dependant or dependants and it appears that the one of the main applicant’s reasons for applying for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa is employment, education or health care benefits to the dependants, the case-worker should consider particularly carefully whether they are satisfied that the applicant is a genuine student.
5.An ECO must be satisfied that the applicant is a genuine student before granting an application on the basis of paragraph 245ZV(k). They must not grant an application if there have reasonable grounds for doubting that the applicant is a genuine student. This includes where the applicant has been interviewed the applicant but the doubt remains.
6.Administrative review: where an application has been refused under paragraph 245ZV(k), the applicant can request that the decision is reviewed by an entry clearance manager. The applicant has 28 days from the date of receipt of the refusal notice to submit a request for such an administrative review. The request should be made in writing and should include full details of the reasons why the applicant believes they meet paragraph 245ZV(k) and why the visa should have been issued.
The entry clearance manager will review the decision to ensure that it has been made in accordance with the Immigration Rules.