Spring Immigration Rules changes

27 February 2015

The Home Office published a new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 1025 on 26 February. Most changes take effect from 6 and 24 April but some, regarding administrative review, take effect from 2 March. Some of the main changes are highlighted below:


These changes take place from 24 April.

Fifteen visitor routes will be streamlined into four new routes, one of which will be a new 'visitor (standard)' route incorporating  the current 'general', 'business', 'child', and 'academic', categories.

The current 'student visitor', and 'extended student visitor' concession, routes will be replaced by a new ‘short-term student’ route.

Children coming to the UK to visit (who would currently use the 'child visitor' route) will apply either:

  • under the 'visitor (standard)' route; or
  • if coming for a course of study during that visit, under a new ‘short-term student (child)' route.

Those wishing to use the 'short-term student (child)' route must already have an offer of a place on a course, if they intend to study in the UK as more than an incidental part of their stay and/or for longer than 30 days in total. Such child applicants will not be able stay for longer than six months to study an English language course, whereas adults using the 'short-term student' route will be able to.

'Short-term' students will be able to apply for entry clearance in any post that accepts such applications. You must intend to leave the UK by the end of your leave, or course, whichever is sooner.

As before, non-visa nationals coming for up to six months are not required to apply for entry clearance.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requirement

[Item amended 17 March 2015]

Currently, most people applying for leave under Tier 4 in order to do a course, or undertake research, in the subject areas listed in Appendix 6 of the Rules are required to obtain ATAS clearance. From 6 April, the number of immigration categories that will require ATAS clearance for study of a course, or a period of research, in such a subject area will increase greatly. This will only affect people granted leave based on an immigration application made on or after 6 April. If you think you will be affected by this, speak to an adviser at your institution.

A further change to the ATAS requirements means that applications for the doctorate extension scheme (DES) made on or after 6 April do not require fresh clearance if they already have an ATAS certificate.

Other PBS routes

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) is being amended to restrict engagement in businesses "principally concerned with property development or property management", bringing it in-line with Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).

Small changes are being made to the Tier 2 (General) shortage occupation list.

Read further on work changes from 6 April 2015.

Administrative review

Administrative review will replace appeal rights for Tiers 1, 2, and 5 applicants, and their dependants, if they apply for leave on or after 2 March. A large number of other categories of leave will have appeal rights replaced by administrative review for applications made on or after 6 April.

Administrative review will be available to those whose leave is cancelled on arrival in the UK, on or after 6 April, if that means the person is left with no leave.

From the way the changes are worded it also seems likely that, from 6 April, applications for administrative review of entry clearance refusals will be subject to validity checks and a fee payment. An entry clearance administrative review is currently free of charge, but there is a charge for an administrative review of a leave to remain application.

TB screening

From 6 April, TB screening will change so that obtaining TB clearance will only be required of those entry clearance applicants who have lived in a country listed in Appendix T of the Rules for more than six months immediately prior to the date of application. This will benefit those who have been studying in the UK and who then return home for a short period in order to apply for entry clearance, ie those who will not have been living in that country for the six months immediately prior to the application.

Curtailment of leave

From 6 April, anyone who has limited leave to enter or remain can be asked by the Home Office to provide information/evidence, or attend an interview, in order to check whether their leave should be curtailed for a variety of reasons, including: failure to start study; early completion of a course; exclusion or withdrawal from a course. Failure to comply may lead to curtailment of leave.