In July, home secretary Theresa May introduced a bill that significantly changed the rules for international students studying in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. If you’re starting university this year, here are some of the rules you should be aware of:
1. In November, the amount of money you need to have in your bank account before you start your course will increase. If you’re planning on studying in Inner London, you will need to have a total of £11,385 in your bank account. If you’re studying anywhere else in the UK, you will need to have £9,135.
2. On August 3rd, a new rule about academic progression went into effect. Now, you will only be allowed to extend your visa for further study if you are moving up a level on the National Qualifications Framework. So, for example, if you have a BA in History, you won’t be able to extend your visa to get a BA in English. But there are exceptions to this rule—you’re allowed to get another same-level degree if it is linked to your first degree. You can also get another Bachelor’s degree if it will support your career goals, which will be determined by your university.
3. There is a chance that spouses’ and dependents’ rights to work in the UK may be restricted. If you’re an undergraduate, you’re currently not allowed to bring spouses or dependents. But if you’re a postgraduate or a PhD candidate, you can bring a spouse or dependent if your course lasts a year or more. Theresa May is trying to pass a proposal that will ban the spouses and dependents of international students from working in low-skilled jobs.
4. There is also a high chance that the minimum salary for the Tier 2 visa will increase. Many international students get this work visa after finishing their studies. Currently, the minimum salary requirement is £20,800, and the graduate must be sponsored by an employer. The Migration Advisory Committee is considering raising this minimum to £24,800.