Changes to the UK Student Visa

New student visa restrictions may affect the student visa process used by international students studying in the UK. This April, the United Kingdom made changes to the UK student visa by eliminated its Tier I Post Study Work (PSW) visa. The new regulations came into effect on July 4th 2011 with more changes expected to be enacted in April 2012. Already the results are expected to be considerable and the UK Border Agency itself confirmed that changes in the student visa rules will likely result in fewer visa applications. This is because the Post Study Work visa, which currently allows non-EU foreign students to continue to live in the UK whether they were able to find work or not for up to two years after their graduation from a UK university, was enormously popular among job-seeking international students. The new announcement says, the post-study work route will close in April 2012 and the affects could be drastic. In fact, one source estimates that the new restrictions could see the number of international students studying to the UK (currently numbering 250,000 annually) drop by more than 50%.

Supporters of the changes to the UK Student Visa argue that the elimination of the Post Work Study visa was prompted by increasing levels of misuse of the system by private education providers in the UK. To further bolster these measures and clamp down on these abuses, a further measure passed in April mandated that the accreditation requirements used to evaluate public education providers be extended to private institutions, thereby ensuring that all eligible student visa sponsors meet the necessary level of excellence.

Other changes to the UK student visa will affect the process in other ways as well. Changes will soon be announced involving higher English language proficiency requirements for certain visa types and more restrictions on when and where students and their dependents can work while living in the UK.