A few changes to the Immigration Rules come into force on 1 October 2019:
- Students with immigration permission in the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) category of Tier 4, will now be permitted to apply for immigration permission in the Start-up category despite having previously set up a business. Students’ last grant of immigration permission must have been in the DES category of Tier 4 for this concession to apply;
- Tier 4 (General) students granted their leave on or after 1 October 2019, who later submit an application for Tier 2 leave within 3 months of the expected completion of their course, will be able to start work with their Tier 2 sponsor as soon as they have made their Tier 2 application.
- The only self-employment permitted for Tier 4 students is for those who have made an application in the Start-up category. Students must have made an application prior to the expiry of their Tier 4 immigration permission;
- The Professional Sportsperson definition will be revised again to exclude Tier 4 students who are studying a course at degree level or above at a Higher Education Provider. If such students are playing or coaching sport as an amateur or as part of a work placement, such students will be excluded from the Professional Sportsperson definition. The work placement must be an integral and assessed part of course however;
- Tier 4 students wishing to submit Administrative Review applications will have to do so online. The only exception to this is where a student has submitted a paper immigration application. Our understanding from the Home Office is that prior to 1 October 2019, the online AR form for entry clearance applications will be activated. Guidance on the Gov.UK web pages and on refusal notices will be amended to explain the process and point applicants to the correct link. There will continue to be no requirement to pay a fee;
- PhD students will only be exempt from the academic progression requirements if they wish to extend their immigration permission to study at their current Tier 4 sponsor. This narrows the exemption which previously meant PhD students could extend their stay in the UK by applying for further immigration permission at their current Tier 4 sponsor or at a new Tier 4 sponsor. We are currently seeking clarity from the Home Office as to the reasoning for this change. Once we hear anything further from the Home Office on this we will provide a further update.
Additionally, Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) issued for PhD level jobs in the Tier 2 category, will now be added to CoS that can be issued outside of the Tier 2 allocation limit. This change will take effect on 6 October 2019.
ITEM UPDATED 24 September 2019 to clarify the Rules change, in the second bullet (above), relating to work whilst awaiting a Tier 2 application decision.