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Student and Post study work visas in UK: New Rules introduced

There are several changes to Student visas (Tier 4) and Post study work visas (part of Tier 1).
Working in the UK after you graduate
The UK’s post-study work visa scheme (part of Tier 1), is closed to new applicants. If you want to work in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland after you complete your studies, you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa.

Tier 2 will be open to recent graduates with a Bachelor or Master’s degree, PhD, PGCE or PGDE from a UK recognised or listed body. You can only apply if you have an offer of a skilled job from an employer who is a licensed sponsor with UKBA. The job must also meet certain salary criteria.

Are you a budding entrepreneur?
The government is also launching a new scheme called Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur). British universities who sign up to the scheme will be able to act as your immigration 'sponsor' if:
  • you are a student who has completed a degree course in the UK
  • you want to develop ideas or entrepreneurial skills by setting up a business in the UK
  • you are sponsored by the institution where you studied.
  • In the first year there will be a limit of 1,000 places under this scheme.
Tier 5 temporary worker visa
Graduates can also consider applying for a Tier 5 ‘temporary worker’ visa. To be able to apply for a visa under most Tier 5 categories: you must:
• have a job offer from a licensed sponsor
• pass a points-based assessment.
There are different requirements under the Youth mobility scheme.

Maintenance funds
When you apply for a Tier 4 student visa, you need to demonstrate that you will be able to support yourself financially as a student in the UK. This means you will have to be able to show that you have minimum amounts of money available to cover your living costs.

From 6 April, the required amount of money rises to reflect the cost of living in the UK. For example, if you are an adult Tier 4 student:
in inner London, you'll need to show that you have £1,000 for each month of your course up to a maximum of nine months
in other regions of the UK, you'll need to show that you have £800 a month up to a maximum of nine months.
The amount for dependants and Tier 4 Child visas is also going up.
This change is designed to make sure that international students have a comfortable experience in the UK and can support themselves financially.

The UK is cheaper than US and Australia for international students
The good news is that, when compared with the US and Australia, Britain is very competitive when it comes to tuition fees and living costs.

According to International Pricing Study: A snapshot of UK and key competitor country international student fees, a report published in 2011 by the UK HE International Unit:

The UK is cheaper than the US and Australia in terms of fees charged, based on the institutions surveyed in the study
The UK is also cheaper than the US and Australia in terms of living costs and similar to the Netherlands and Germany.

How long can you study in the UK on a Tier 4 visa?
Students on a Tier 4 visa are limited to spending five years on courses at degree level.

There will be exceptions:
if your undergraduate degree course is four or five years long and you want to study a Master's degree or PhD at a higher education institution (recognised body or institution in receipt of public funding)
if you are studying a specific course: architecture, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and science, law, music (at a conservatoire).

Of course many UK undergraduate degree courses can be completed in three years, and many UK masters courses only take a year to complete - so most international students will be on courses that come within the five-year limit.

Working while you study on a Tier 4 visa
Many international students who study in the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are keen to work while they study to supplement their finances, gain work experience and get to know the local community. And for some students, it is part of their course to complete a work placement.

With a Tier 4 visa, many students are able to work in the UK alongside their studies during vacations, and part time during the week. It's a good idea to check whether you are eligible

From 6 April 2012 onwards, there is a change for Tier 4 students who plan to do a work placement as part of their course:

If you are studying a course below degree level and/or you are not at a higher education institution, any work placements must be limited to one third of your total course time (previously the limit was 50 per cent).
If you are studying at degree level or above at a higher education institution, you can spend 50 per cent of your time on a work placement.
Published date : 31 Jul 2012 04:47PM

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