The Immigration Act 2014, which as we reported previously became law on 14 May, will have an effect on HEIs in a number of ways when it is implemented.

The first is likely to be in connection with accommodation.  Private student halls of residence are exempt from the Act’s new requirement that landlords must check the immigration status of potential tenants before the residence is let. That exemption does not extend to the private rental sector, but if the student’s educational institution provides satisfactory evidence of the student’s status to the landlord, then an immigration status check will not be required. 

As has been reported widely, the Act also allows for the creation of a statutory instrument to introduce an annual charge for access to NHS services by migrants.  It is expected that the statutory instrument will set out a range of provisions in relation to the charge, including sanctions to be imposed on those who fail to pay.  In the course of the Immigration Bill passing through the House of Lords stage, there was some discussion over a lower charge being imposed on migrant students.

In addition, the Act removes the right of appeal for a number of types of visa application, including extension applications, applications for the right to enter and applications for entry clearance. From now on, administrative reviews of such applications will take place, meaning decisions will be reconsidered by Home Office caseworkers rather than by an independent tribunal. In 2012-13, 98,800 applications for Tier 4 extensions were made: of these, just under 12,400 were refused. The loss of appeal rights will also affect academics and researchers from overseas.