Monday, December 20, 2010

New UK Immigration Changes

From the University of Warwick website.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has spoken recently about a series of measures to reduce net migration. These will have an impact on international students and, in particular, on the employment routes available to them after their studies, namely Tier 1 (Post Study Work) and Tier 1 (General). The key changes include:

  • an annual limit of 21,700 across Tiers 1 and 2 of the Points Based System on the number of people coming here to work from outside the EU in 2011-12.
  • closing Tier 1 General route and using Tier 1 to attract more investors, entrepreneurs and people of exceptional talent. This route permitted unrestricted employment for highly skilled migrants.
  • a limit for the revised Tier 1 route, excluding entrepreneurs and investors, will be set at 1,000
  • a limit of 20,700 under Tier 2 and raising the bar to graduate level jobs so that only the most skilled migrants are allowed to come to the UK. This marks a return to the days before the first Prime Minister’s Initiative for International Education (1999) where obtaining a work permit was the only way in which an international graduate could remain in the UK after studies for employment. It is very difficult to prove that a post cannot be filled from the local (UK/EU labour force).
  • intra-company transfers (ICTs) will be exempt, but standards will be raised and numbers lowered by placing a new salary threshold of £40,000 for ICTs longer than 12 months.
  • tighter controls on the Tier 2 limit. UKBA will distribute Certificates of Sponsorship to employers on a monthly basis, rather than pre-allocating as is current practice.
On 7 December 2010, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) set out proposals for the major reform of the student migration route and launched an 8 week consultation with stakeholders: The broad aims of the reforms are:

Raising the level of courses students can study. Only Highly Trusted Sponsors will be able to offer courses to adult students at National Qualification Levels 3, 4 and 5 (sub-degree level).
  • Introducing tougher entry criteria for students other than child students
  • Ensuring students return overseas after their course
  • Limiting the entitlements to work and sponsor dependants
  • Simpler procedures for checking low-risk applications
  • Stricter accreditation procedures for education providers in the private sector
The new proposals could see Tier 4 - students coming to the UK under the points- based system - restricted to those studying largely degree level courses and to child students, unless the institution is a Highly Trusted Sponsor. English language competence could become the key indicator of someone's eligibility to complete a higher level course and all Tier 4 applicants will have to pass a secure English language test showing competence at intermediary level B2, a step up from the B1 currently required.

The drive to ensure students return overseas after their course finishes will mean students will have to leave the UK and apply for a new visa to further their studies, and show evidence of progression to a higher course. It will also see the closure of the post-study route under Tier 1. This would be a blow for international students who value the opportunity to enhance their UK degree with some UK work experience.

Highly Trusted Sponsor status is awarded to institutions where there are high levels of compliance with UKBA sponsor duties and where the risk of immigration abuse by the sponsor's migrants is deemed to be minimal. This status brings certain benefits not available to non-Highly Trusted Sponsors, such as the right to offer programmes at sub-degree level, eg the Higher Education Foundation Programme. Warwick was awarded Highly Trusted Sponsor status in September 2010.


Some issues of concern for foreigners who come here to study:
1. Your dependants may not be able to work while you study.
2. You may have to forget about getting work experience here in the UK after your degree.

1 comment:

  1. Tier 2 Work Permit - Global Migrate

    Tier 2 of the Points Based System has replaced the Previous Employer-sponsored work Permit system, including intra-company transfers, sportspersons and ministers of religion categories.
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