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Closure of the Tier 1 Post Study Work route confirmed!

23 March 2011

The UK Border Agency has announced the closure of the Tier 1 PSW route. From April 2012 graduate students will no longer be able to apply for leave to remain in the UK following the award of their degree unless they have an offer of a graduate job from a sponsoring employer under Tier 2 of the points-based system. The sponsors will have unlimited access to certificates of sponsorships to allocate to migrants. However, applicants must switch to Tier 2 category prior to the expiry of their current Tier 4/Student visa. Migrants will have to meet the Tier 2 requirements, except for the Resident Labour Market Test.

The government has also announced its intention to develop a new entrepreneur route for bright and innovative students who have a business idea and want to make it work in the UK. The Home Secretary said:

'International students not only make a vital contribution to the UK economy but they also help make our education system one of the best in the world. But it has become very apparent that the old student visa regime failed to control immigration and failed to protect legitimate students from poor-quality colleges. The changes I am announcing today re-focus the student route as a temporary one, available to only the brightest and best. The new system is designed to ensure students come for a limited period, to study, not work, and make a positive contribution while they are here. I am delighted to announce that, alongside our stricter rules, we will ensure that innovative student entrepreneurs who are creating wealth are able to stay in the UK to pursue their ideas.'

There will also be an overhaul revamp to the Tier 4 Scheme as follows:

  • From April 2012, any institution wanting to sponsor students will need to be classed as a Highly Trusted sponsor, and will need to become accredited by a statutory education inspection body by the end of 2012. The current system does not require this, and has allowed too many poor-quality colleges to become sponsors.
  • Students coming to study at degree level will need to speak English at an 'upper intermediate' (B2) level, rather than the current 'lower intermediate' (B1) requirement.
  • UK Border Agency staff will be able to refuse entry to students who cannot speak English without an interpreter, and who therefore clearly do not meet the minimum standard.
  • Students at universities and publicly funded further education colleges will retain their current work rights, but all other students will have no right to work. We will place restrictions on work placements in courses outside universities.
  • Only postgraduate students at universities and government-sponsored students will be able to bring their dependants. At the moment, all students on longer courses can bring their dependants.
  • There will be a limit on the overall time that can be spent on a student visa to 3 years at lower levels (as it is now) and 5 years at higher levels. At present, there is no time limit for study at or above degree level.
Unfortunately, the details of will only be  fully known  after a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules is published on 31 March 2001.

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Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.