Information and updates

Our information sheets answer lots of questions about your immigration options

ISVAT Events


Last updated 10 August 2020

Information for applicants

Our webinars for applicants and offer holders this summer have now ended.  We regret that we had to cancel our 'Working After Your Studies' sessions, but are happy to confirm that an event run with Careers, ISVAT and a leading UK immigration firm will take place online in October 2020.

News for International Students

Further Details of the new immigration system from January 2021.

15 July 2020

On the 13 July 2020, the Home Office released a document with further detail on the future points based system:

The UK's future points based immigration system: further details

This included detail on the following routes which may affect LSE students and are not currently available:

  • Student Route - replacing Tier 4
  • Skilled Worker Route - replacing Tier 2
  • Graduate Route - new post study work visa

No further details of the new BNO route have yet been made available.

These details are not the immigration rules and are still subject to change so should not be taken as a guarantee.

Student Route - what does this document tell us?

The Student Route will be very similar to Tier 4 as the Home Office believe this route is working successfully. It is anticipated to launch in January 2021 and potentially open for applications from  October 2020.  However, there will be some changes as shown below:

  • Applicants will need to get 70 points to be eligible for the route (50 for studies, 10 for English language and 10 for maintenance requirements);
  • Applicants will be able to apply up to six months in advance of their course start date as stated on their CAS (currently three months under Tier 4)
  • Applicants switching into the route in the UK from a visa which allows switching will not be required to show any maintenance funds;
  • LSE will be able to assess applicant's English language and academic abilities - evidence may not be required to be submitted for the application regardless of nationality;
  • EU/EEA nationals will be added to the list of low risk nationals and will be able to provide their biometric information through an app similar to the EU Settlement Scheme - they are liable to have a digital status rather than a BRP;
  • EU/EEA nationals will not require ATAS clearance;
  • The Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme will close when the Graduate Route opens;
  • Applicants will still need to pay the IHS - increasing to £470 per year plus the additional time on your visa from 1 October 2020;
  • We understand that the monthly living costs required to be shown will increase from £1,265 to £1,340.
  • Supplementary work will be permitted but full details are not available yet - these are likely to mirror the conditions of Tier 4;
  • Applicants will be able to bring dependants and the requirements mirror the requirements for dependants under Tier 4.
  • The time granted at the end of the visa is likely to mirror teh current options under Tier 4 - given that the Graduate Route has been introduced there was no longer the requirement to follow through the intention of giving every one six months at the end of their visa

Graduate Route - what does this document tell us?

The immigration rules for the Graduate Route will not be published until Spring 2021 (potentially to be in place for April 2021).

  • You must be awarded an undergraduate degree or above from a Higher Education provider;
  • The degree you have been awarded must be the one that was stated on your CAS;
  • You must have a valid Tier 4/Student visa at the point of application;
  • You must have completed the whole of your degree in UK (with some exceptions);
  • You cannot previously have been awarded leave under the Graduate Route;
  • You must apply in the UK for the visa;
  • If you were fully, financially sponsored for your studies you will need permission from you scholarship provider to apply e.g. Chevening or Commonwealth Scholarship Commission;
  • Undergraduate and Masters degree level students will be granted a visa for two years
  • PhD students will be granted a visa for three years;
  • You will only be eligible to have your dependants with you if they are already in the UK on a depedant visa.  You cannot obtain the Graduate visa and then bring your dependants to the UK.
  • There will be no maintenance requirements and the English language requirement will be met by you being awarded your degree.
  • Supplementary study at an institution with a Student visa sponsor licence will not be permitted - you will not be able to apply for the Graduate Route to use for studies at a university.
  • Will be required to pay the IHS which is likely to be at the higher rate for work visas rather than the reduced student rate.

Skilled Worker Route - what does this document tell us?

The Skilled Worker Route is likely to be launched in January 2021 and potentially open for applications in Autumn 2020.  If you were due to sponsored under Tier 2 next year you will probablybe applying under this route.

  • The Resident Labour Market Test will be removed for employers;
  • You will be able to switch from Tier 4/Student Route;
  • You will require 70 points but some of these will be tradeable - employers will advise on how you can meet the points;
  • The minimum salary required will be £25,600 unless you are eligible for the new starter wage of £20,480 - this will be assessed based on the role and your employer will advise on this;
  • There will be no cap on the number of applications.
  • You will need to pay the IHS at the higher worker rate.

Obtaining advice from ISVAT during the current period

15 July 2020

ISVAT drop-ins are cancelled whilst the team work from home.  We are unsure when they will be able to resume as they will need to follow UK government guidance and social distancing measure.

The team are still available to help and you can complete our online query form for advice.

Our current response time is three to five working days for initial queries and follow-up replies required. 

Rebrand of Tier 4 (General) visa

6 May 2020

The Home Office have rebranded the Tier 4 (General) visa to General Student Visa (Tier 4).  For all references in our guides Tier 4 refers to the new name as the rules have not changed as yet.

"The UK's points-based immigration system: policy statement" - what do we know for students?

6 May 2020

On the 19 February 2020, the government published its policy statement outlining its intended plans for their future points-based system. These pages were updated on the 5 May 2020 but the details for students were still limited.

Most of the document focusses on working routes, although it does not mention anything about either the proposed Graduate Worker route or whether EU/EEA nationals will benefit from a version of the Youth Mobility scheme.

What we do know about the proposals for students is:

  • Similar to Tier 4, students will be expected to have an offer of study, a level of English language and the ability to support themselves in the UK;
  • Free movement for EU/EEA nationals will end on the 1 January 2021, although those resident in the UK before the 31 December 2020 will be eligilble to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme until the 30 June 2021;
  • EU/EEA nationals arriving for/returning to their studies from the 1 January 2021 will need to apply for a visa if they are studying a full time degree programme;
  • EU/EEA nationals who are studying a programme of less than six months or an Executive Masters programme may need to apply for a Short-term Student visa;
  • Applicants to the new study route by EU/EEA nationals may follow a different format to all non-EU/EEA applicants.  They are likely to be able to apply using a smartphone app to verify their identity and complete te application form online.  All other nationalities required to apply to the new study route will continue to attend an appointment in a Visa Application Centre to provide their fingerprints;
  • Successful EU/EEA applicants to the new study route may not be given a physical document verifying their immigration status for the UK. Instead they will have a digital status confirming their right to study in the UK - we are awaiting further confirmation that this is definitely the case for students or just workers.

As soon as we have more details, we will continue to update this page.

"Graduate" route (Post Study Work Visa)

6 May 2020

The Home Office have confirmed that they still plan to introduce the Graduate Worker route but it is unliekly that the rules will be available until Spring 2021. We understand that it will be available to anyone graduating from Summer 2021. At present, it is still only a policy intention from the current government. Until the time that it becomes law, the route does not exist.  You can find information on what we do know in our infosheet

Frauds Targeting International Students

7 October 2019

There are a number of fraudulent schemes in circulation targetting international students.

Fraud One:

This is aimed at Chinese students. You may get a phone call from a UK mobile number claiming that you have a case against you for money laundering at home in China. 

You will then be provided with a Chinese phone number to contact.  When you speak to the person they will give you a case ID number and details of  website to log into.  The website shows a fake copy of a legal charge against you and a photograph of you.  In the case we were aware, this was the person's photograph from their National ID card.

You will be asked to provide the details of your bank account and any credit card details to pay a fine.  Do not provide any of these details as the aim is to take money from your account.  We are aware that one student has had £7,000 taken by the fraudsters but others have had more taken.

Fraud Two:

Another London university has been affected by a potential money laundering scam where an email appears to be sent from a university email address offering an opportuntity to work as a book keeper for a Chinese art firm paying £200 per week.  We strongly recommend that you do not respond to this email as you may become a victm of a money laundering scam. 

Fraud Three:

A fraud against students has appeared but we are unsure if this is targeting international students only.  You may be contacted by someone claiming to be from LSE saying that you have cheated on your degree and that your degree will be withdrawn if you do not take action within five days. The number is a Watford phone number starting 01923, although this may be re-directed from a personal phone number as part of the scam. 

LSE would not contact you in this way with regards to an allegation of cheating. You will be contacted in writing prior to the award of your degree and we would not ask for any money.

If you are contacted with regards to the same issue please email SSC.Advice@lse.ac.uk. 

Fraud Four:

This is an attempt to get international students to pay the fraudsters. If you ever receive any calls you are unsure of regarding paying money or your immigration status, let ISVAT know. This fraud usually targets Chinese nationals.

  • A student is contacted by someone claiming to represent the police or another official body from the student's home country - they have personal details and are very convincing.
  • They tell the student that they are suspected of a significant money laundering crime and their family are at risk - if they cannot afford the amount they are encouraged to borrow money or ask their family to send them more money.
  • They are told not to alert the British Police.
  • They are asked for money to make sure that they and their family are safe and not dishonoured.
  • They are told not to speak to friends and receive constant phone calls.
  • If you receive a phone call, do not pay any money. Speak to ISVAT and alert the UK police by completing an Action Fraud form. LSE will support you if you are contacted.

Fraud Five:

This scan usually targets Indian nationals and takes place across the world.  It is not limited to Tier 4 visa holders.  A person phones claiming to be from the Home Office and asking for money.  Unfortunately, the majority of the cases are with Indian students and it is not solely a UK issue.

  • The caller may appear convincing because they may have some limited information about you;
  • They may give you their name and telephone number to convince you they are genuine - the number they provide is an official Home Office number, but this is part of the fraud;
  • They will advise you to turn of your wifi and any access to the internet on your phone - this is so you are not able to do any research whilst on the call;
  • They usually say there is a serious problem with your immigration status and that you need to pay a fine because you have not completed a form correctly;
  • They will usually ask you to pay the fine in cash using Western Union - the amount varies but some students have been asked to pay up to £3000;
  • If you pay the money, they are likely to find additional reasons for you to pay extra - for example they may say that your issue with the UKVI is resolved but their checks mean that you now need to pay the embassy of your home country. They will be very persistent and sometimes threatening if they believe that they will be able to obtain more money from you.

How to respond:

  • Do not give the caller any personal information and do not confirm any information they have is correct;
  • Do not make any payment - the Home Office does not issue financial penalties;
  • You may wish to tell the caller you are aware the call is fraudulent and that you will report it to the Police or you may just wish to hang up;
  • Report the incident to ISVAT and online at Action Fraud.  You can also report this to the Police if you wish.
  • If you have any concerns about your immigration status, ISVAT can check this for you.

Expansion of e-Gates from 20 May 2019

Updated 29 August 2019

From the 20 May 2019, the use of e-Gates has been expanded to the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapopre
  • South Korea
  • USA

If you enter the UK via the e-Gate when your Tier 4 vignette is valid, you will activate your Tier 4 visa.

If you are planning to arrive earlier than the start date of your Tier 4 visa and you enter via the e-Gates, you will only be entering the UK as a tourist and will not be able to register for your programme.  You will need to leave the UK and re-enter when your Tier 4 visa is valid for it to be activated and enable you to register.

You will need to bring a printed copy of your flight details or boarding pass to show at registration so that staff can verify the date you entered the UK.

If you have any questions about entering the UK via the e-Gates, please contact us by completing our online query form.

If you intend to enter as a Short-term Student, you must speak to a Border Force Officer and obtain a stamp in your passport.

Frequently asked questions

I'm an EU/EEA national.  How will Brexit affect me?

Read or informaion sheet for up to date advice for EU/EEA nationals.

What can I do to minimise the risk of my visa application been refused? 

Read our tips for preventing a visa refusal information sheet

How can I show that I have met the financial requirements for my application?

Check our meeting the financial requirements information sheet

My visa application has been refused, what do I do now?

First, read our Help, My visa application has been refused information sheet. You will then need to send us a copy of your refusal notice.

I'm on a dual degree and coming to LSE next year, what should I do?

Read, the information for Dual/Joint Degree students.

I've lost my passport and BRP what do I do now?

Read our Lost passport or visa information sheet for more information.

I want to travel, do you have any guidance?

Please read our travelling during or after your studies information sheet.

I'd like to work - where can I find out more about what I can and cannot do?

Read our Working during your studies and Working after your studies information sheets.

ISVAT Information Sheets