UKBA makes new visa announcements
Yesterday UKBA released its long awaited "Statement of Intent" to the general public.
As well as confirming the previously announced time limit students are allowed to spend studying in the UK, the statement also outlined increases in maintenence requirements and the new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa route.
Graduate Entrepreneur visa
UKBA announced that they would allow 1,000 students to switch to a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa. This visa would need to be sponsored by the HEI, and they must already be a highly trusted sponsor. A graduate will be allowed to stay on this visa for a maximum of 2 years, after which they must switch to the standard Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.
Maximum length of stay
The maximum length of stay for any student on a Tier 4 (General) visa is five years. UKBA have made excepetions for longer courses, such as medicine and dentistry, scottish courses and PhD students.
The amount of maintenence funds a student needs to prove they have has been increased for all types of Tier 4 visa.
NUS International Students Officer, Christina Yan Zhang said:
"International students should not account towards the “Net Migration” at all. They are like education tourists. It does not make sense to reduce the number of tourist who want to come to Britain to watch Olympics. It is the same with international students, who have not only contributed to 12.5 billion pound annual income to boost the British economy, but also academic excellence to our colleges, universities, as well as multiculturalism of the British societies. It is especially the case when the USA and Canada don’t include international students in their immigration debate at all, but are starting to have more flexible immigration policies to retain international students to work in their countries to boost their long term global standing."