Changes to the immigration rules, March to July 2014

14 March 2014

The Home Office has published two Statements of Changes to the Immigration Rules this month.  The statements announce some upcoming changes to the immigration rules for Tier 4 applicants and their dependants, and changes to some other immigration rules that can affect students. 

The changes which are most relevant to students are about:

  • which nationalities need a tuberculosis (TB) test before applying for a visa
  • how much money a Tier 4 applicant or their dependant needs to show, and the maximum deduction for accommodation fees already paid to the Tier 4 sponsor
  • a new "acceptable" bank in Bangladesh
  • three new "low risk" nationalities, and a change for all "low risk" nationals
  • ATAS clearance for a Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme application
  • changes to the visa national list
  • a change to the work restriction for Tier 4 dependants

We have summarised these changes below, and the dates when the changes will take effect.  Unless otherwise stated, the new rules affect applications made on or after the stated date. 

 

31 March 2014:  Tuberculosis testing

Algeria, Belarus, Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Ukraine will be added to the list of countries whose nationals need to take a tuberculosis (TB) test at an approved clinic before applying for a Tier 4 visa to come to the UK for a course of 6 months or more.  Anyone from these countries who will receive a decision on their immigration application on or after 31 March 2014 needs to include a TB certificate with their visa application.  If you are applying before 31 March 2014, ask advice from the entry clearance post.

See the list of countries where the test is needed, and details of the approved clinics.

1 July 2014:  maintenance for Tier 4 applicants and their dependants

The required maintenance will increase for Tier 4 applicants and their dependants, for applications made on or after 1 July 2014.  The Home Office has explained that this early notice will allow applicants enough time to arrange any extra money now required.

At the same time, the maximum deduction from the required maintenance will increase from £1000 to £1020.  This deduction can only be applied for money paid to the Tier 4 sponsor for accommodation fees in university-managed housing.

The new monthly figures for Tier 4 applicants their dependants are as follows. In most cases, you will need to show up to 9 months’ worth of funds, so multiply the figure by 9.  If you have “established presence”, you can show up to 2 months’ worth of funds, so you would multiply the figure below by 2.

Read more about Tier 4 funds and “established presence”.

 Type of application
Current amount
New amount from 1 July 2014
 Tier 4 (General) studying in Inner London  £1000 £1020
 Tier 4 (General) studying elsewhere in the UK  £800  £820
 Tier 4 (Child) staying with carer / close relative  £550  £560
 Tier 4 (Child), under 12 accompanied by a parent  £1500  £1535
 Tier 4 (Child), under 12 accompanied by a parent, each additional child £600
 £615
 Tier 4 (Child), aged 16 or 17, living independently and studying in inner London  £900  £920
 Tier 4 (Child), aged 16 or 17, living independently and studying elsewhere in the UK  £700  £715
 Tier 4 (Child), under 16 or not living independently:  £550  £560
 Dependant of Tier 4 (General) migrant studying in Inner London:  £600  £615
 Dependant of Tier 4 (General) migrant studying elsewhere in the UK  £450  £460
     
6 April 2014: acceptable banks in Bangladesh

Premier Bank Limited has been added to the list of acceptable financial institutions in Bangladesh, for applications made on or after 6 April 2014.  If you are using financial documents from a bank in Bangladesh, you should not use documents from any bank on the “unacceptable” list,

Read more about evidence needed for your application, including those countries where there are “acceptable” and/or “unacceptable” financial institutions

6 April 2014:  “Low risk” nationals

From 6 April 2014, “low risk” applicants will no longer be exempt from the credibility interview. 

Read more about the credibility interviews.

Also, nationals of Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be added to the list of “low risk” countries.  This means that nationals of those countries, who are making a Tier 4 application in that country or in the UK, do not need to include evidence of their finances or academic qualifications when they apply.  You do need to gather the evidence, and have it available if requested, but you do not need to send it.

Read more about Tier 4 applications by “low risk” nationals


6 April 2014:  ATAS

A Tier 4 application to study some courses requires you to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate as part of the application.  However, a Tier 4 application to join the Doctorate Extension Scheme will not need a ATAS certificate, even if the course normally needs one, as long as you apply less than 28 days before the course end date, as stated on your CAS. 

Your Tier 4 sponsor can issue a CAS for a Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme application up to 60 days before the course end date.  So if you do apply 28 days or more before the course end date, you will still need an ATAS certificate.

Read more about the ATAS certificate and which courses need them


5 May 2014:  Visa national list

All Venezuelan nationals will become visa nationals from 5 May 2014, and therefore they will always need to apply for entry clearance (a visa) before travelling to the UK.  This includes coming to the UK as a Student Visitor, Child Visitor or General Visitor.  This change affects all decisions made on or after 5 May 2014.

For decisions made before 5 May 2014, only some Venezuelan nationals are visa nationals.  There is an exemption for Venezuelan nationals whose passport has biometric details on an electronic chip, but this exemption will be removed from 5 May 2014..     

Nationals of Bahrain with a special or diplomatic passport will not need entry clearance if they are coming to the UK as a General Visitor.  Special or diplomatic passport holders coming as a Child Visitor, Student Visitor, or in any other category, and nationals of Bahrain with other types of passport will still need to apply for entry clearance. 

See the current visa national list in Appendix 1 of the Immigration Rules, .

6 April 2014:  Dependants’ employment

The work conditions for a Tier 4 dependant will add a restriction on working as a professional sports player or coach.  The Home Office has explained that this restriction is “designed to prevent applicants from circumventing the requirement to be endorsed by the relevant UK sports governing body in the dedicated [sponsored work visa] categories.”

Read more about dependants and working.


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