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The United Kingdom's new points based system, broken into five tiers covering highly skilled migrants to unskilled workers, will also include Tier 4 for international students. Students coming to the UK under a Tier 4 visa will require a university or other qualified UK educational institution to sponsor them. They will also need to score enough points to be accepted as an international student in the UK. How the points system for students will work has not been decided yet.

The current system grants visas for an initial period of one year, which may or may not change under the tiered system. Foreign students have been historically allowed to work -- 20 hours while school is in session and 40 hours during holidays.

Tier 4 for international students is expected to go into effect at the beginning of 2009.

International students also have special immigration options available to them upon graduation under the new points based system. Once a student graduates from an eligible UK educational institution, they can apply for a Tier 1 visa under the Post-Study Work sub-category. This will allow international graduates to remain in the UK for two years. Once completing their period under Post-Study Work, a graduate can move into another sub-category or tier

Requirements :
  • You must have a secured place at a UK-based institution for full-time study. Full-time means a minimum of 15 hours of classroom study per week.
  • You must be able to support yourself without access to public funds, as well as pay for the course and all accommodation and maintenance.
  • It is essential that applicants state that they intend to return to their home country after the course is completed.

Visa Conditions :
  • Successful applicants are normally granted a 1 year visa initially, depending on the length of the course.
  • Students may work for 20 hours per week in term time, and 40 hours per week during the holidays.
  • Partners and dependents are usually free to work as they choose, as long as the main applicant is going to be studying for longer than 1 year.
  • Individuals wishing to study for 6 months or less may qualify for a student visitor visa, however visa nationals will still require entry clearance in this category. This type of visa does not allow for any form of employment.

You need 40 points to be able to apply for a student visa and must provide the proof needed with your application form.

Points What you get points for  Proof and documents needed
  30  Doing a course (at an acceptable level) with an approved education provider (also known as sponsorship) Visa letter from your approved education provider, and the documents used to get the visa letter
 10  Having enough money to cover your course fees and monthly living costs (also known as maintenance)  Bank statement or letter confirming that you have enough money available to cover your course fees and monthly living costs for up to one year, at the time you submit your application
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