New requirements for student applications under Tier 4 of the points-based system have come into effect today.
The new requirements are as follows:
- We have raised the minimum level of English language course that Tier 4 (General) students can study, to level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Before you can apply to study an English language course in the UK, you will need to show that your English language skills are at CEFR level B1 or higher. (There are exceptions if you are a government-sponsored student or if you want to study a pre-sessional English course that meets certain requirements.)
The UK Border Agency has today published revised guidance for employers and education providers who sponsor migrants under the points-based system, and has enabled education providers to use the sponsorship management system for the first time.
The sponsor guidance has now been split into separate documents for employers (Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system) and for education providers (Tier 4). Both guidance documents, together with a list of changes from the previous guidance, can be downloaded from the sponsor guidance page of this website.
Additionally, the sponsorship management system is now available to Tier 4 sponsors, enabling them to issue confirmations of acceptance for studies (CAS) for the first time. During a voluntary trial period which will run until February 2010, Tier 4 sponsors will be able to choose whether to issue visa letters or CAS to migrants applying to them from inside the United Kingdom. CAS will completely replace visa letters next February.
For more information about how Tier 4 sponsors can use the sponsorship management system, see the Tier 4 phase 3 news story.
Phase 3 of Tier 4 of the points-based system will go live on 5 October, with the start of a voluntary trial period for the sponsorship magagement system.
During the trial period, Tier 4 sponsors will be able to continue using visa letters while gradually adopting the use of the sponsorship management system to issue confirmations of acceptance for studies. Confirmations of acceptance for studies will become mandatory in February 2010.
Between 5 October 2009 and February 2010, sponsors will be able to issue confirmations of acceptance for studies, visa letters or a combination of both to prospective students who are applying to them from within the United Kingdom. Prospective students applying from outside the United Kingdom will still have to apply with a visa letter until February 2010.
For further details on the implementation of Tier 4, download the Tier 4 implementation plan (PDF 79K opens in a new window).
You can find more information about the sponsorship management system and how you can use it in the Sponsorship management system section of the UKBA website.