According to the latest quarterly report of the UK Office for National Statistics, there were 219,053 student visas issued in the year ending March 2014.
This is a rise of 6% for the year. It is however almost a third lower, compared to the peak in the year ending June 2010, when 320,183 student visas were issued.
The good news is thus that although the UK government is trying to minimise immigration to the UK, it is still possible for non-EU citizens to access top UK educational institutions to further their studies.
BIC deals with a large number of student visas, and have compiled a list of issues, that interested persons must take note of, in order to avoid pitfalls, and to clear some issues on the topic. This week we discuss the role of the educational institution in obtaining the student visa.
Choosing an educational institution
Tier 4 puts the onus on the educational institution to govern and manage their own students and to report any students who fail to reach certain bench-mark standards including class attendance. In order for a prospective student to be able to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa, the educational institute must be registered as a licensed sponsor with the UK Home Office.
Prospective students should be very careful to choose a reputable Tier 4 sponsor. The UK Home Office is cracking down on educational institutions that do not comply with their sponsorship requirements, and it is becoming a more frequent occurrence that educational institutions lose their sponsorship licences. The result is that students lose their course fees mid-course and then have to find a new sponsor and pay new course fees in order to obtain a student visa, which put many students in an almost impossible position.
It is also very important, especially for prospective students overseas, to never pay over any monies to the educational institution unless they are 100% sure that the institution is legit and indeed a licenced Tier 4 sponsor. Speak to your BIC consultant in this regard, to ensure that this is indeed the case.
When the prospective student enrols at the educational institution the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is provided. This is a virtual document that contains a unique reference number, information about the course of study, as well as the student’s personal details, and will be needed in in order to apply for the Tier 4 Student visa. The CAS number is unique to the applicant and the educational institution. If the CAS does not have this reference number, the institution is not registered with the UK Home Office as Tier 4 sponsor.
The CAS must be valid at the time of the application for the Tier 4 Student visa, and cannot be used more than once. The CAS will expire if not used for a student visa application within six months of being issued. If unsure about the validity, it might be best to check with the educational institution. If a Tier 4 application is refused one would need to get another CAS from the educational institution.
If you are a prospective student, and would like to apply for your student visa, or unsure about the sponsorship status of the educational institution where you would like to enrol, please contact your BIC consultant. Rather safe, than sorry!
Director of BIC, Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants Limited.
www.bic-immigration.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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