UK proposes tougher student visa requirements

The UK has proposed stricter requirements for foreign students wishing to study in Britain. The proposals include creating tougher entrance criteria and make it more difficult for students to stay on in the UK to live and work after their studies. Moreover, the Post-Study route under Tier 1 PSW visa would be axed under the proposed changes.

A consultation will run for eight weeks, seeking views on the proposed changes to student immigration, otherwise known as Tier 4 of the points based system. The proposals include:

  • reducing the number of students entering the UK to study at "below degree level"
  • introducing tougher English language requirements
  • forcing students to show evidence of academic progress when renewing their visa
  • limiting work rights for students and their ability to bring family members with them
  • improving the accreditation process for educational institutions, by bringing in more rigorous inspections

If the proposals are put into place, the Tier 4 visa could be limited strictly to degree-level students and child students, unless the educational institution is a so-called "Highly Trusted Sponsor".

Under current requirements, a level of B1 is required on the standard English language test. Under the proposed changes, B2 would be required.

Probably most surprising of all would be the requirement for a student to leave the UK and apply for another visa once a course is finished if they wish to further their studies. Moreover, it will be more difficult to bring family members with you under the proposed rule changes.

The UK has now decided to make it difficult for international students to remain in the UK on a long term basis:

"This Government wants high calibre students with the genuine desire to study to come to our country to come for temporary periods, and then return home," said UK Immigration Minister Damian Green.