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UK Student and Child Student immigration routes

October 5, 2020

The UK's new and improved Student route, which falls under the UK's new points-based immigration system, has now opened for applications (5 October). It improves on the previous Tier 4 route making for a more streamlined experience for both sponsoring institutions and students.

 

Key messages

  • The UK's new and improved Student route, which falls under the UK's new points-based immigration system, is now open for applications to international students. It improves on the previous Tier 4 route making for a more streamlined experience for both sponsoring institutions and students. Apply on GOV.UK.
  • The Student Route is open to EU/EEA and Swiss students as well as international students, but EU/EEA and Swiss students resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 should not apply through the route. These students, and their family members, are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Those resident here by 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to do so. It is free to apply and applications can be made online. do so. It is free to apply and applications can be made online. More information on the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here.
  • EU/EEA and Swiss students coming to the UK on or after 1 January 2021 will need to apply through the Student route, ahead of arriving in the UK. This includes those who begin their course remotely in autumn 2020. Further guidance for EU/EEA and Swiss students can be found here.
  • EU/EEA and Swiss students can continue to visit the UK for up to 6 months, without applying for a visa and may participate in short term study.
  • All students applying through the new Student route will need to demonstrate they meet the required 70 points. They will achieve the required points if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK.
  • A Student visa will cost £348 if applied for outside the UK and students will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their application, which gives migrants access to the UK’s National Health Service on generally the same basis as a UK permanent resident. Students will receive a 25% discount on the Immigration Health Surcharge. The cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge is due to increase later this year. Find out more on GOV.UK.
  • The UK has a world-leading education sector and will continue to welcome talented and high potential international students. There will be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK to study, and we will seek to increase the number of international students in higher education as set out in the International Education Strategy published in March 2019.
  • We are also making it easier for the best international graduates to secure skilled jobs in the UK with our new Graduate route, which will allow international students who have completed undergraduate and master’s degrees in the UK to stay for 2 years and those who have completed a PhD to stay for 3 years.

 

EU/EEA and Swiss students

EU/EEA and Swiss students resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and have until 30 June 2021 to do so. 

(1) Rest of World students (non EU/EEA/Swiss)
The UK's new and improved Student route, which falls under the UK's new points-based immigration system, is now open for applications. The student route improves on the previous Tier 4 route making for a more streamlined experience for international students. Visas that have been issued through the Tier 4 route are still valid and those eligible will still be able to apply for the Graduate Route when it opens in summer 2021.

(2) EU/EEA and Swiss students applying this year (2020), to start their course in the UK next year (2021)
You will need to apply for a student visa through the new points-based immigration system. Applications are now open. You can apply up to 6 months in advance of your course starting. Further guidance for EU/EEA and Swiss students can be found here.

(3) EU/EEA and Swiss students who have started/are starting their course this year (2020) and who will arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020
If you arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020, apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. More information on the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here.

(4) EU/EEA and Swiss students who have started/are starting their course this year (2020) but have deferred travel until next year (2021)
If you are unable to enter the UK by 31 December 2020 and will arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021, you will need to apply for a student visa through the new points-based immigration system before you travel to the UK. Applications are now open. Further guidance for EU/EEA and Swiss students can be found here.

(5) EU/EEA and Swiss students who are currently studying a UK course, have left the UK temporarily, but have not applied to the EUSS and may not be in the UK by 31 December 2020:
If you have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and therefore do not have pre
settled status or settled status, and you are midway through your course but are not currently in the UK, you will be able to apply to the EUSS from outside the UK, so long as you are able to prove you
are still continuously resident here. To do this, you will need to prove that you have not been absent from the UK for more than six months in any 12 month period, with the exception of a single permitted absence of up to 12 months for an important reason, such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas posting.

If you have remained continuously resident in the UK, then you can still qualify for status under the EUSS (and you can apply to the EUSS from overseas or in the UK). If you have broken your continuous residence here, then you must resume your residence in the UK by the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) in order to be eligible for status under the EUSS. If you have broken your continuous residence here and you cannot return to the UK by 31 December 2020, you will need to apply under the new points-based immigration system if you wish to return to the UK from 1 January 2021. More information on the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here. More information on the UK’s new points-based immigration system can be found here.

 

Amending references to Tier 4 online

In account of the Student route replacing the Tier 4 route, the Home Office recommends that you amend any reference to Tier 4 on your website. To help you do this, we have provided wording below.

  • From 5 October 2020, the Student route will replace the Tier 4 route.
  • The Student route, which falls under the UK's new points-based immigration system, improves on the previous Tier 4 route making for a more streamlined experience for both sponsoring institutions and students.
  • Visas that have been issued through the Tier 4 route are still valid and those eligible will still be able to apply for the Graduate Route when it opens in summer 2021.
  • More information about the UK’s new points-based immigration system can be found here. Further guidance for EEA students, who from 1 January 201 will need to comply with the new system can be found here.
  • EEA citizens resident in the UK before 31 December should apply to the EU settlement scheme.

 

EU Settlement Scheme Guidance

  • EU, EEA or Swiss students who are already resident in the UK or become residents in the UK by 31 December 2020, should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021.
  • Successful applicants to the EUSS can continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021 and will be given either settled status or pre-settled status, depending on whether they have lived in the UK for a continuous five year period.
  • The Student route will be open to EEA students as well as international students from 5 October however, EEA students resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, should not apply through the route. These students, and their families, are eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and have until 30 June 2021 to do so. More information on the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here.

 

EU Settlement Scheme: settled and pre-settled status

Settled status
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens will usually get settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme if they’ve started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and have lived in the UK for a continuous 5 year period (known as ‘continuous residence’). EU/EEA and Swiss citizens with settled status can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing their status.

Pre-settled status
If EU/EEA and Swiss citizens do not have 5 years’ continuous residence when they apply, they’ll usually get pre-settled status. They must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. EU/EEA and Swiss citizens can then apply to change this to settled status once they’ve got 5 years’ continuous residence. They must do this before their pre-settled status expires. EU/EEA and Swiss citizens with pre-settled status can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing their status. They will need to maintain their continuous residence if they want to qualify for settled status.

EU/EEA and Swiss citizens with settled or pre-settled status will be able to:

  • Work in the UK
  • Use the NHS for free, if they can at the moment
  • Enrol in education or continue studying
  • Access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if they’re eligible for them
  • Travel in and out of the UK.

Find out more about settled and pre-settled status on GOV.UK.

 

FAQs

How does the new Student route differ from the current Tier 4 route for international students?

  • The Student route will streamline and simplify the current requirements and application process for international students studying in the UK.
    Improvements include:
    • Allowing greater ability to apply for further leave as a Student in the UK, including study at any student sponsor type and at any level;
    • Giving prospective students overseas the option to apply up to six months in advance of their course start date;
    • Removing study time limits for all students on postgraduate courses;
    • Removing the maintenance requirements for students who have already been in the UK for 12 months with valid leave, for those on recognised foundation programmes as doctors and dentists, and for students applying as student union sabbatical officers;
    • Expanding ‘light touch’ documentary evidence requirements to EEA nationals;
    • Giving higher education providers with a track record of compliance the ability to confirm students academic ability without the need for previous qualifications to be submitted alongside an application;
    • Bringing in a new ‘academic engagement’ policy to replace attendance monitoring for students at degree level and above;
    • From the summer of 2021, introducing the new Graduate route for those who successfully complete a degree in the UK allowing them to work or look for work for up to two years (three years for PhD graduates) after their studies.

What happens to applicants who have made an application / been issued a CAS before the new route goes live?

  • Applicants who have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued before 5 October at 09:00 under the Tier 4 route will be able to use it for an application under the Student route.
  • All live applications made before 5 October at 09:00 will be considered under the rules in effect at the time of application.
  • Students with a CAS issued before the launch of the route will not be in any way disadvantaged if they make an application after the new rules come into effect.

What is changing for Child Students?

  • Child Students will benefit from new, simplified Rules in line with the Law Commission’s report. They will also not need to demonstrate funds if they have already been in the UK for 12 months at the point they make a further application to remain as a Student or Child Student.
  • There will also be an explicit safeguarding requirement introduced for all sponsors of international students aged under 18, giving UKVI additional tools to take swift action if there are any concerns about child safeguarding at a particular sponsor.

Will EU/EEA/Swiss nationals be able to apply straight away?

  • EEA nationals who are applying from outside the UK, who are planning to come to the UK from 1 January 2021 can apply from 5 October.
  • EEA nationals who are currently in the UK, or plan to come to the UK to study by 31 December 2020 should apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before 30 June

What about EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who have already started studying?

  • EEA/Swiss students who are already studying in the UK, or plan to come to the UK to study by 31 December 2020 should apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before 30 June 2021.

What about EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who have started studying by distance learning and will come to the UK in the future?

  • EEA/Swiss students starting courses through distance learning must apply under the Student route if they are coming to the UK from 1 January 2021.

What will the application process be like for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals?

  • EEA and Swiss nationals will be able to use the new ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app which will use a chip in their passport to verify an applicant’s identity. If the chip is broken, or someone is unable to use the app then they will be directed to a Visa Application Centre to register biometrics instead.
  • Those able to use the UK Immigration ID check app when applying will receive electronic notification of UKVI’s decision. This will set out the full conditions of their immigration status.
  • They will also be able to check their immigration status and its conditions at any time using the ‘view and prove’ service on GOV.UK. This online service will provide a secure record of someone’s immigration status which is held digitally by the Home Office and is available to them at all times.
  • The ‘view and prove’ service can also be used to share and evidence of someone’s rights in the UK such as the right to work or study by giving organisations or people, such as employers or universities access to the relevant information about their immigration status.

Will EU/EEA/Swiss citizens need to apply for a visa for short term study?

  • EU/EEA and Swiss students can continue to visit the UK for up to 6 months, without applying for a visa and may participate in short-term study - read more here. All non-recreational study must be undertaken at an accredited institution. Recreational courses undertaken for leisure, that last no longer than 30 days and which do not lead to any formal qualifications, will not need to be undertaken at an accredited institution.
  • The 6-11 month short term study route is distinct from the main student route and requires applicants of all nationalities to obtain a visa before travelling to the UK. This route is specifically for people taking English language courses, and it does not require sponsorship and does not permit work.
  • State boarding schools do not qualify for the short-term study route.

Are there exemptions to the English Language requirement? (courtesy of Fragomen)

  • Students who demonstrated that they had the required level of English language ability in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission are exempt from the English Language requirement.
  • Students who have a GCSE, A-level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher, in English (language or literature), that was awarded by a regulated awarding body or following education in a UK school undertaken while they were aged under 18 are exempt from the English language requirement.

Immigration documentation EEA nationals (courtesy of Fragomen)

  • Fragomen understands that EEA nationals applying under the Student or Child Student routes may be given digital status, which will confirm the validity of the student’s permission without a biometric residence permit.
  • UK Visas and Immigration is expected to release further details soon.

Student switching rules (courtesy of Fragomen)

A student can switch to a Student or Child Student visa from within the United Kingdom unless they were last granted permission:

 

(For BSA Sixth Form students) Will EEA students continue to be eligible for home fee status and student support?

  • EEA citizens who start a course in England in the 2020/21 academic year or before will continue to be eligible for home fee status and student finance support from Student Finance England for the duration of their course.
  • Eligibility rules are changing for EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members who wish to commence courses in England in the Academic Year starting in August 2021.
  • EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals not in scope of the citizens’ rights protections will not be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. This change will also apply to Further Education funding for those aged 19+, and funding for apprenticeships. It will not affect students starting courses in the 20/21 AY. This will not apply to students from Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis under the Common Travel Area arrangement.

 

Additional links:

1. For further policy information about the Student and Child Student routes please visit GOV.UK.

 

2. Appendix CS: Child Student

  • The Child Student route is for a person aged between 4 and 17 who wants to study at an independent school in the UK, which is a student sponsor.
  • A person aged 16 or 17 who wants to study a course at or above Regulated Qualifications Framework level 3 or Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 6 can choose either to apply as a Child Student at an independent school or as a Student under Appendix ST: Student.

 

3. Appendix ST: Student

This route is for:

  • a person aged 16 or over who wants to study with a sponsor on a course of further or higher education, a pre-sessional English course, a recognised foundation programme, on the Doctorate Extension Scheme or to take an elected post as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.

  • A person who is aged 16 or 17 and wants to study with a sponsor that is an Independent School on a course at Regulated Qualifications Framework 3 or Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework 6 and above can apply as either a Student or as a Child Student (see Appendix CS: Child Student).

  • The register of licensed student sponsors can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-students

 

 


UK's new points-based immigration system, will open for applications on 5 October

September 10, 2020

The Government announced on 10 September 2020 that the UK’s new Student and Child Student routes, which are part of the UK's new points-based immigration system, will open for applications on 5 October. These routes will replace and improve upon the existing Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) student routes.

From 5 October, all prospective international students, including those from Europe coming to study in the UK after the end of the transition period, will need to apply through the Student route before coming to UK. Further guidance for EEA students can be found on GOV.UK

EEA students resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 do not need to apply through the route. They, and their family, are eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and have until 30 June 2021 to do so. More information on the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here

The early launch of the route aims to give prospective students maximum time to prepare; those applying will be able to make an application six months in advance of travel to the UK.


EU Settlement Scheme guidance

  • EU, EEA or Swiss students who are already resident in the UK or become residents in the UK by 31 December 2020, should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021.
  • Successful applicants to the EUSS can continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021 and will be given either settled status or pre-settled status, depending on whether they have lived in the UK for a continuous five year period.
  • The Student route will be open to EEA students as well as international students from 5 October however, EEA students resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, should not apply through the route. They, and their family, are eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and have until 30 June 2021 to do so. More information on the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here.
  • Access the translated communication and guidance on GOV.UK
  • Sign up to receive a regular Community Bulletin from the Home Office for updates on the latest EU Settlement Scheme news and activity.

FAQs from the Home Office

Which routes are going live?
•We have laid the rules on 10 September 2020 for new Student and Child Student routes, which will go live on 5 October 2020.

Will EEA nationals be able to apply straight away?
•EEA nationals who are applying from outside the UK, who are planning to come to the UK from 1 January 2021 can apply from 5 October.
•EEA nationals who are currently in the UK, or plan to come to the UK to study by 31 December 2020 should apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before 30 June

What will the application process be like?
•EEA and Swiss nationals will be able to use our new ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app which will use a chip in their passport to verify an applicant’s identity. If the chip is broken, or someone is unable to use the app then they will be directed to a Visa Application Centre to register biometrics instead
•Those able to use the UK Immigration ID check app when applying will receive electronic notification of UKVI’s decision. This will set out the full conditions of their immigration status.
•They will also be able to check their immigration status and its conditions at any time using the ‘view and prove’ service on GOV.UK. This online service will provide a secure record of someone’s immigration status which is held digitally by the Home Office and is available to them at all times.
•The ‘view and prove’ service can also be used to share and evidence of someone’s rights in the UK such as the right to work or study by giving
organisations or people, such as employers or universities access to the relevant information about their immigration status.

What happens to applicants who have made an application / been issued a CAS before the new route goes live?
•Applicants who have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued before 5 October at 0900 under the Tier 4 route will be able to use it for an application under the Student route.
•All live applications made before 5 October at 0900 will be considered under the rules in effect at the time of application.
•Students with a CAS issued before the launch of the route will not be in any way disadvantaged if they make an application after the new rules come into effect.

What about EEA nationals who have already started studying?
•EEA students who are already studying in the UK, or plan to come to the UK to study by 31 December 2020 should apply under the E U Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before 30 June 2021

What about EEA nationals who have started studying by distance learning and will come to the UK in the future?
•EEA students starting courses through distance learning must apply under the Student route if they are coming to the UK from 1 January 2021.

How much will an application cost?
•Applications under the Student route will cost the same as current Tier 4 applications; £348 for those applying overseas and £47 5 for applications made in the UK.

What is changing for Child Students?
•Child Students will benefit from new, simplified Rules in line with the Law Commission’s report. They will also not need to demonstrate funds if they have already been in the UK for 12 months at the point they make a further application to remain as a Student or Child Student.
•There will also be an explicit safeguarding requirement introduced for all sponsors of international students aged under 18, giving UKVI additional tools to take swift action if there are any concerns about child safeguarding at a particular sponsor.

How does the new Student route differ from the current Tier 4 route for international students?
The Student route will streamline and simplify the current requirements and application process for international students studying in the UK.
Improvements include:
•Allowing greater ability to apply for further leave as a Student in the UK, including study at any student sponsor type and at any level;
•Giving prospective students overseas the option to apply up to six months in advance of their course start date;
•Removing study time limits for all students on postgraduate courses;
•Removing the maintenance requirements for students who have already been in the UK for 12 months with valid leave, for those on recognised
foundation programmes as doctors and dentists, and for students applying as student union sabbatical officers;
•Expanding ‘light touch’ documentary evidence requirements to EEA nationals;
•Giving higher education providers with a track record of compliance the ability to confirm students academic ability without the need for previous qualifications to be submitted alongside an application;
•Bringing in a new ‘academic engagement’ policy to replace attendance monitoring for students at degree level and above;
•From the summer of 2021, introducing the new Graduate route for those who successfully complete a degree in the UK allowing them to work
or look for work for up to two years (three years for PhD graduates) after their studies.


Useful links

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