New Fraud Targeting International Students
11 June 2018
We have become aware of a new fraud targeting international students. 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.
- 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.
New Format for Overseas Application Form
22 February 2018
The format of the overseas application form has now changed completely. We are in the process of producing an updated guide.
Registered Traveller Scheme
21 February 2018
Some nationalities are able to join the Registered Traveller Scheme. However, if you enter the UK via the eGates as a Registered Traveller, you will be entering as a tourist and as such will not have to condition to study.
If you are a non-visa national who plans to enter the UK as a Short-term Student, the UKVI have informed us that you must request entry by speaking to a Border Force Officer rather than use the eGates.
Proposed increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge
9 February 2018
The UK government have announced that there will be an increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge from £150 to £300 for students and their dependants. The date of the increase has not yet been publicised, but you should plan to pay this additional amount for an application in the summer as it is likely to be in April.
Immigration Rule Changes from 11 January 2018
24 January 2018
From the 11 January 2018, there were a number of changes to the immgration rules for the Short-term Student, Tier 4 and Tier 2 immigration routes:
- Short-term Student - you are now permitted to remain within the UK for up to 30 days after the end of your programme or the expiry date of your visa, whichever is sooner.
- Short-term Student - the guidance on frequent and successive visits has changed
- Short-term Student - the number of days you can study within a six month period is limited to 56 days if your programme means you complete most of your learning overseas.
- Tier 4 - there is a new route which permits students to study on a part-time basis using Tier 4. However, you will not have the right to work, bring dependants or access the NHS but will be expected to meet all the same rules as a Tier 4 student on a full-time programme. The School is currently in discussion as to whether we will spnsor students on a Tier 4 visa to study part-time.
- Tier 2 - the rules as to when a student can apply for Tier 2 have changed. We are currently in discussion about the documentation we can provide and when we can provide it. Once this is confirmed, our working after your studies information will be updated.
Fraud against international students
24 March 2017
International students should be aware of a scam where 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.
Changes to the immigration rules from 6 April 2017
17 March 2017
The government have published their statement of changes due to come into effect on the 6 April 2017. The following changes will affect LSE students:
- Definition of a working week - from the 6 April 2017, the Home Office will define a working week as a seven day period starting on a Monday. This means that during term-time, Tier 4 students will be able to work a maximum of 20 hours in the seven day period from Monday to Sunday.
- Permission to extend visa from official financial sponsor - the rules clarify that you only require permission to extend your visa if you have been wholly sponsored (tuition fees and living costs) by a government or an international scholarship agency within the last 12 months.
- Educational loans - from the 6 April 2017, educational loans where the tuition fees and living costs are paid directly to the School and the living costs are released to the student upon registration, can be used as evidence of finances. An example of these are the non-US Federal loans provided by Sallie-Mae. If you have a non-educational loan which doesn't meet the definitions in the Home Office guidance, the money must still be held in your bank account for a 28 consecutive day period before your visa application.
- Period of overstay - from the 6 April 2017, the period of overstay where an application can be submitted is clarified as within 28 days or your current or most recent visa. The period of time where a ban for overstaying will be implemented is reduced from 90 days to 30 days. LSE does not support applications in the UK from students who have become overstayers.
The latest version of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance will be released on the 6 April 2017 and we will review this for any further changes which may affect LSE students.
Advice for EU/EEA students
13 March 2017
We have recently updated our guidance for EU/EEA students. We strongly recommend that EU nationals read the information on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance as this is a requirement for students. The type of insurance you obtain depends on whether you plan to stay in the UK on a temporary basis or plan to apply for residency.
If you are unsure of your plans, we recommend that you consider obtaining Comprehensive Sickness Insurance rather than rely on EHIC. EHIC can only be used if you will be in the UK temporarily and may affect an application for permanent residence.
Up-to-date information can be found on the UKCISA web pages.
Educational loans paid directly to LSE
17 March 2017
IMPORTANT: This does not relate to the US Federal loan scheme, but all other educational loans where the money will be paid directly to the the School.
If you are using an educational loan as evidence, which will be paid directly to the School, the UKVI have made a concession that these can be submitted as evidence. However, whilst you apply under the Tier 4 (General) route, you will be granted leave outside the rules. All of your Tier 4 conditions will be in place (working conditions etc.), but this concession will limit your ability to extend your visa in the UK and it is unclear whether it will count towards the cap on degree level study.
If possible, please try to avoid using a loan which is paid directly to the School as evidence, as this could affect your options in the UK.
This advice will change from the 6 April 2017 when these loans will be included in the rules.
Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules
9 November 2016
The Home Office released a statement of changes to the immigration rules on the 3 November 2016. The main changes affecting students will affect applications made on or after the 24 November 2016 and include:
- Applications from overstayers will only be accepted within 14 days of leave expiring - in the majority of cases LSE does not support applications from overstayers in the UK;
- Evidential flexibility - where documents in a series are missing e.g. bank statements, the start and end of that series must be included. If further documentation is requested, it will only be requested once and must be received within 10 working days of the request.
- If a student is applying for a new visa in the UK because they have completed re-sits or repeat teaching, they no longer need to meet the academic progression requirements. After the 24th November this means that you will not be required to return home to extend your visa, but will be able to apply in the UK after you have completed your repeat teaching. However, this only applies if you are receiving repeat teaching in the same programme. You cannot apply for repeat teaching in a new programme. See our information on changes in circumstances.
- Dependant Financial Requirements - dependants are now required to hold £845 per month up to a maximum of nine months depending on the length of leave they will be granted. Therefore, if a dependant is extending their visa for two months, but their full length of their visa will be six months they will need to show £845 x 6 months. Dependants on the Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme) only need to show £845 x 2 months.