In our December 2010 immigration update we reported on the Government’s tier 4 consultation. In April 2011 the Government will be specifically seeking to introduce changes to tier 4 in order to achieve its 'aspiration' of reducing net migration. For more details on the proposed changes click here. The UKBA expects to publish the new criteria in March and the changes are likely to have far-reaching consequences for education providers, students, accreditation bodies and employers. If you have not submitted your response to the consultation yet, the deadline is Monday 31 January 2011.

We strongly urge educational establishments, associations, students, professors, teachers, alumni and employers to submit responses so that the Government is forced to take note of the strength of opposition in relation to many of the changes. There is real concern that the proposals, if implemented in their current form, will cause significant harm to the UK's reputation as one of the world's leading destinations for international students with associated present and future, cultural, business and economic consequences.

The proposals include the abolition of the tier 1 (post study worker) route (which may significantly damage the UK's ability to compete for the world's brightest students with other countries which do offer post-graduation work routes), further restrictions on work for some students and all dependants, removal of the ability for many students to apply to extend their stay in-country and numerous other measures.

To submit your response online click here or to use the pro-forma response form, click here.