A further set of changes to Tier 4 of the points-based system is due to take effect from 4 July 2011. These include restrictions on the right of students to work in the UK and to bring dependants with them.
Those non-EEA nationals applying to enter the UK from 4 July 2011 under Tier 4 will only have the right to work in the UK if they are studying at a Higher Education insitution or a publicly funded Further Education college. This provision will also apply to those extending their leave to remain in the UK under Tier 4.
Only students at post-graduate level whose courses last at least 12 months will be able to bring any dependants with them. Government-sponsored student dependants will be the only other group permitted. Those studying outside these groups will not be able to bring their dependant spouses or children with them to the UK.
There are also plans to introduce a streamlined application process for nationals of certain countries that the UKBA considers to be low risk. There will be reduced requirements for financial documents and proof of educational qualifications from these people.
These changes follow a government consultation on Tier 4 that concluded earlier in the year and come on the back of other limitations to overseas students' entitlements that took effect on 21 April 2011.
Employers considering employing a student should check the rules before signing a contract to ensure they do not breach the prevention of illegal working guidelines.