Changes to the Immigration Rules from 1 October 2019
7 October 2019
- Doctoral students will no longer be exempt from academic progression in the case where they are changing institutions to complete their research. However, they will not be bound by the rule expecting them to complete their previous programme for which the CAS was assigned.
- There will be greater flexibility for those students changing their research, except in the case where they are moving with a supervisor or for other reasons to apply within the UK.
- Students whose Tier 4 visa was granted on or after 1 October 2019 will be able to start their Tier 2 role whilst their application is in progress. All other students are still affected by not being able to start work until their Tier 2 visa is granted unless they are applying on the basis of having been awarded their degree.
- Start-up applicants whose Tier 4 visa was granted on or after 1 October 2019 will be permitted to start work on a self-employed basis before they receive a decsion on their applications. All other applicants will need to wait until their visa is granted before they are able to start working on a self-employed basis.
Definition of a Professional sportsperson/coach
A professional sportperson/coach is prohibited from undertaking sporting activities other than as:
- an "Amateur" in a charity event
- an "Amateur" though not necessarily in a charity event if a person is a Tier 4 (General) student studying a degree-level course wth a higer education provider
- part of a work placement if the person is a Tier 4 (General) student studying a degree-level course with a higher education provider.
English Language Requirements
Appendix O of the immigration rules has been deleted. Appendix A now sets out the requirements for Secure English Language Tests (SELTS).
Administrative Reviews Overseas
People wishing to apply for an Administrative Review overseas are now required to complete an online form. There will be no fee charged for the application.
Frauds Targeting International Students
7 October 2019
There are a number of fraudulent schemes in circulation targetting international students.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Government Announcement on "Graduate Route" visa from 2020
17 September 2019
The UK government have made an announcement that they plan to re-introduce a post study work visa option called the "Graduate Route". At present, it is a policy statement and is not yet formally approved and in immigration law. Once formal approval has been sought, it is expected to be in place to benefit students who graduate from Summer 2021 onwards.
UKCISA have produced a helpful news piece for students:
The Home Office are planning a major revision of the immigration system and this is expected to be rolled out from the end of 2020 when EU/EEA citizens will be included, should Brexit take place. The introduction of the "Graduate Route" is likely to be in-line with this revision. As such we anticipate that the following groups are unlikely to benefit from this route:
- Current students with visas expiring in 2020
- Students who join LSE this year and whose visas will expire in 2020
- 12 month Masters /PhD students whose visas will expire in January 2021.
We appreciate that this will be disappointing, but it is unlikely that this will change for recent graduates or those who will be completing next year. Once we have further details and policy is confirmed, we will update students.
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:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
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 Offic er and obtain a stamp in your passport.