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Student Support
International Students' Newsletter
Spring Term 2012

UK Immigration Information and Guidance:

Other Topics:

UK Immigration Information and Guidance

UK Government announce significant changes to Tier 4

From the 6 April 2012 changes will be made to several areas of the immigration rules including Tier 4, the student tier. These include:

  • Limits to the number of years international students can spend in the UK as a Tier 4 student. If a student makes a Tier 4 application when they have already spent the maximum time allowed in the UK, their application will be refused.

  • Significant increases in the amount of maintenance (funds) Tier 4 applicants must show they have and a cap of £1000 on the amount of paid University accommodation fees that can be offset against this fund requirement.

In addition Tier 1 (Post Study Work) will be abolished on the 5 April 2012 and there will be changes to Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5, see below.

Please read the information on the UKCISA website and the Statement of Intent and ensure that you are aware of what this may mean for you. If you have any queries please contact an immigration adviser in Student Support, after the 15 March 2012 when the changes will be written into the Immigration Rules, by completing the online immigration enquiry form.

Increase in application fees - The UKBA have announced an increase in their fees from 6 April 2012. There will be an increase in application fees for Tier 4 applications made inside and outside of the UK. It is vitally important you pay the correct fee otherwise your application will be rejected as invalid which may lead to you having to leave the UK. See the UKBA website for further information.

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Changes to your studies

If you are in the UK with a Tier 4 visa it is very important to be aware of your conditions and responsibilities. Certain changes to your planned study could mean that you have to take action immediately, for instance you may need to apply for a new visa, contact the UKBA or even leave the UK. Please see the immigration area of the University's website for more information.

If you are thinking of changing your course, intermitting, withdrawing or taking a leave of absence it is vital that you check what this will mean and what action you need to take, failure to take the appropriate action could lead to problems in the future regarding your immigration status. Further advice is available from Student Support, please complete the online immigration enquiry form

Tier 4 rejections and refusals

Have you made an application in the UK to extend your Tier 4 visa? Are you still awaiting the outcome or have you received the outcome and not had immigration advice?

If you receive, or have received, a letter from the UKBA rejecting or refusing your application it is imperative that you seek immigration advice IMMEDIATELY from Student Support, please complete the online immigration enquiry form in the first instance. Don't delay seeking immigration advice as this can have serious consequences to your options and immigration status.

Please note that the University may not be able to continue to sponsor you under Tier 4 and may not be able to allow you to continue with your course if you do not have valid immigration permission to study in the UK.

If you are due to make a Tier 4 application we recommend you read the UKCISA guidance and; if you are eligible, use the Batch Scheme run by the Students' Union Advice Centre to make your Tier 4 (General) application in the UK, they will check your application and documents are correct and send it to the UKBA for you. (Please note that we have not seen any rejections or refusals when the application was made via this scheme). More information on making a Tier 4 application in the UK is available on the SUAC website.

International students studying courses below degree level in the UK 

Will you need to apply for a visa for more time in the UK to complete your studies or; would you like to take another course below degree level?

Please note that if you are over 18, there is a limit to the time you can spend in the UK studying courses that are below degree level as a Tier 4 (General) student. If you make a Tier 4 application either in the UK or overseas and you have already spent the maximum time allowed studying courses below degree level as a Tier 4 (General) student, your application will be refused. The maximum time allowed is 3 (three) years.

If you have any concerns about this time limit and would like advice or to check your circumstances, please contact Student Support as soon as possible by completing the on-line immigration enquiry form.

Further guidance on applying to extend your Tier 4 (G) visa in the UK is available from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

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Tier 1 (Post Study Work) to be abolished

Please note this scheme will be abolished by the UK Government on the 5 April 2012. If you have not completely finished and been awarded your degree by the date the scheme is cancelled it will not be possible for you to apply. Further information regarding applying for the scheme is available from the Students' Union Advice Centre.

Please note that as of Friday 30 March 2012 it will not be possible to order a Tier 1 Post-Study Work award confirmation letter from the University via the online Student Documentation Ordering System. If you believe you are eligible to apply for Tier 1 (PSW) please request the letter before this date.

To request a letter from the University after the 30 March you will need to contact the Immigration Advisers in Student Support by completing the online immigration enquiry form. The adviser will look into your case and if we agree that you are eligible to apply, we will contact the Documents Team in the Registry to see if the letter can be produced. Please note that Registry cannot guarantee a letter can be produced at short notice and in time for you to make the application.

Working in the UK After Studies: The UK Government have announced changes to other work related immigration categories in the "Statement of Intent: Changes to Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the Points Based System; Overseas Domestic Workers; And Visitors" dated February 2012. We recommend you read the UKCISA guidance on working in the UK after studies, their guidance is likely to be updated shortly after the immigration rules and guidance are amended. Unfortunately, the University is not able to provide immigration advice on working in the UK after studies.

Biometrics Residence Permits (BRP)

If you applied for your Tier 4 visa in the UK you will have been issued with a Biometrics Residence Permit (previously known as an Identity Card for Foreign Nationals), this is your visa and you must show it at the UK border along with your passport when entering the UK.

You have certain responsibilities as a holder of an identity card, including to check it and report and errors within 10 days of receiving it, full details are available to read on the UKBA website. If you have lost your identity card or had it stolen you must report this to the UK Border Agency within 3 months, you will also need to apply for a replacement card, further information is available on the UKBA website. There could be serious consequences if you do not contact the UKBA within the timescales they set.

Please read the UKCISA guidance entitled 'Protecting your Tier 4 student immigration status' for further information and a link to the UKBA website.

Is your entry clearance correct? - Check NOW.

If you are from outside the EEA and you have been issued with Tier 4 entry clearance overseas, please check that it is correct. Does it cover the whole length of your course plus the standard extra amount of time at the end? You may be entitled to a longer period of time in the UK or you may have been given the wrong conditions. Read the information on our website... and if you think it applies to you contact Student Support immediately.

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Working during your studies

If you are an International or EEA/Swiss student you must check the rules on working in the UK in relation to your immigration status. For instance, you may not be able to work at all, if you can work you may be limited to the amount of hours you are able to work during term time. Your entry clearance/residence permit should state if you can work and if so how many hours you can work per week.

If you have a Tier 4 visa and have been given conditions that allow work, the hours and type of work you can do are restricted. Please check what you are allowed to do before you start work as breaching the conditions of your visa is an offence and can have very serious consequences for you and your immigration status. more...

UKCISA

The UK Council for International Student Affairs provides invaluable advice and support for EEA and international students on many issues including fees, immigration and working. They have a dedicated student help line available to callers Monday to Friday 1-4pm, telephone 020 7107 9922 and a very useful website: www.ukcisa.org.uk

Immigration Advice and Services

Immigration advice and services are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), and we as an institution have to abide by the Commissioner’s Code of Standards. The OISC has the power to investigate complaints made about immigration advice and services.. more...

Student Support and the Students’ Union Advice Centre at the Colchester campus have trained, experienced advisers who are authorised to give UK immigration advice to University of Essex students. The service you contact will depend on the nature of your enquiry. Immigration advisers are only able to give advice within their level of competency, therefore, in some cases students may be referred to a specialist Solicitor or organisation.

If you are based at the Southend or Loughton campus you can contact the relevant service by completing the on-line enquiry form (Student Support) or sending an email (Advice Centre).

To find out which service to contact and how please see the immigration area of the University's website.

No other department is authorised to give immigration advice at the University of Essex. Official documents for visa purposes are only available from specified departments, information is available in the immigration area of the University's website.

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Other topics

World events – support for you

If you are a University of Essex student who may be affected directly or indirectly by current world events, such as political developments overseas or natural disasters, you’re encouraged to contact Student Support in the first instance if you require any form of help or advice. You are welcome to visit the office during normal opening hours if you are based at the Colchester campus (above the Campus Shop, Square 4) or you can telephone 01206 872366 or e-mail sso (non-Essex users add @essex.ac.uk).

Applying for University accommodation for 2012/2013

Accommodation Essex have published information on their website regarding what returning students can apply for and when. Eligible returning undergraduate overseas students, must apply for accommodation each year by the published deadline, more...

This newsletter is produced by Student Support, Colchester campus.


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