The main changes, which will affect Tier 4 sponsors and students, are as follows:
- Credibility interviews: The exemption from the genuineness test which currently exists for low risks countries will be removed. This means that any Tier 4 student, regardless of nationality, can be refused on genuineness grounds. We understand that although credibility testing was extended to in-country applicants from October 2013, this is yet to be implemented in practice.
- New additions to the list of 'low risk countries': Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (the 'UAE') are being added to the list of 'low risk' nationalities, i.e. those who are allowed to submit fewer evidential documents in support of their visa applications.
- Maintenance increase: The level of funds, which a Tier 4 student is required to hold for 28 days before making a Tier 4 application, is slightly increasing. This change will not be implemented until 1 July 2014 in order to allow students extra time to obtain and maintain the necessary funds. For full details of the increase, please click here.
- ATAS Certificates: Students applying for leave to remain on the Doctorate Extension Scheme, and who would normally be required to obtain an ATAS certificate to continue with their studies, will not need to obtain another certificate if their course of study finishes within 28 days of the date of application.
The above is a summary of the announced changes and how it can generally affect sponsors and individuals. If you require specific advice on how the changes may affect you as either a sponsor or a student, please contact the immigration team.