The UK Border Agency has announced new rules for the UK student visa tier of the points-based system.
Minimum level of English
Back in February the government raised the minimum level of English required before a non-EU citizen can study in the UK to level B1 of the Common European Framework Reference, which is equivalent to a grade A* in a foreign language GCSE. As a consequence of the change, only people who are already proficient in English can come to Britain to study the language.
Two weeks ago, however, the high court upheld an appeal by English UK, a national association of accredited English language centres, against the tougher entry requirement. The court ruled the change was unlawful because Parliament had not been properly consulted before it was introduced.
The government has now gone back to Parliament to debate the change. Controversially however, it has pre-empted the outcome of the debate by also reintroducing the minimum B1 level of English requirement with immediate effect.
English UK estimates the decision puts more than 3,000 jobs and over £600 million a year in foreign earnings in jeopardy.
Students applying to change to a different education provider
Also, effective immediately, existing Tier 4 students who want to change to a sponsor with a Highly Trusted Sponsor licence can begin their new course of study, at their own risk, while they are waiting for the UK Border Agency to make a decision on their application to change sponsor.
Students applying to change to an A- or B-rated sponsor may not begin their new course of study, however, until they receive a positive decision from the UK Border Agency on their application to change sponsor.
- UK student visas (FindLaw UK);
- New student visa rules make it even harder to enter UK (The Solicitor)
- English language schools win court battle over tightening of visa rules (Guardian)
Find an immigration solicitor (Contact Law)