There were several important changes to the Immigration Rules on October 1, 2013. Some of these were positive changes, such as allowing for an easier transition from graduate student entrepreneur (Tier 1) to skilled worker (Tier 2). Other changes may cause some problems for prospective immigrants, especially those wishing to obtain a student visa.
Before October 1, 2013 the UK made visas available to prospective students. Prospective students were those who wanted to study in the UK but who had not finalized their study plans. Such immigrants were allowed to relocate to the UK while their studies were pending. This method of obtaining a visa has been removed.
If you were residing in the UK on a prospective student visa before October 1, 2013, these changes will not affect you. You will still have the time originally allotted to you to finalize your study plans. However, new applications for prospective students will not be considered. Anyone wanting to study in the UK must apply for a Tier 4 student visa.
Separate rules are in place for those who would like to take a short course of study. This course must meet specific requirements and be less than 6 months in length. Those studying English as a second language may study for 11 months.
Other changes that do not affect students are:
– Removing the English language requirement for those employees who are transferring to a UK office of the same company.
– Expanding the activities a business visitor can do in the UK
– Waiving share ownership restrictions for some senior staff.