Update on Brexit, visa and immigration matters

EEA students and comprehensive sickness insurance

All EEA students are required under the Free Movement Directive to have comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI). As evidence of CSI, students may use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or by having comprehensive private medical insurance. There is more information about the card and receiving medical treatment at the UKCISA website.


With the triggering of Article 50, the negotiating process for leaving the EU has now started. It is important to reassure students and agents that the rights of EU citizens remain unchanged throughout this period, which is expected to last about two years, and until the UK is formally no longer part of the EU.

Students can therefore still use their ID card to travel to and enter the UK as no visa is currently required.

Short Term Student Visa and working

Following a number of recent queries from members about freelance work for short term students where the employer is based overseas, English UK has sought clarification from the Home Office.

Unfortunately, the Home Office have reiterated the prohibition for students on a short term study visa to work, irrespective of where the salary is being paid. This is because the 'base location' of the company is not relevant to the rules. What matters is that students are not permitted to work while studying.

Changes to the immigration rules

Changes to the immigration rules were published on Thursday 16 March and the changes come into force on Thursday 6 April 2017.

There are no changes to the short term study route, however, the Home Office are planning to make some changes to the guidance in the near future.

Some of the changes relating to Tier 4 students and sponsors are listed below. Sponsors should read the explanatory memorandum for a full list of all the changes announced.

Under 18s

  • In addition to the parental letter of consent to care arrangements, Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) students aged under 18 must provide evidence of the relationship between them and the parent or legal guardian who writes the letter of consent in one of three specified ways
  • Tier 4 (Child) students aged 16 or older can be interviewed under the 'genuine student' test.

Students sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency

The Immigration Rules now state, in line with previous versions of guidance, that Tier 4 (General) and Tier (Child) students who are sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency must provide their financial sponsor's consent to an application only if they are, or have been, wholly sponsored by an award that covers both fees and maintenance.


'Week' has been defined as "a period of seven days beginning with a Monday" so Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) students must ensure that their working pattern and hours fit this definition by Thursday 6 April.

General grounds for refusal

The trigger for an automatic refusal of entry clearance under paragraph 320(7B) will be reduced from 90 to 30 days, unless the period of overstay started before Thursday 6 April 2017, in which case the 90-day period is still applicable. A new paragraph 320(7BB) sets out the periods of overstay that will be disregarded, including cases where overstayers applied for leave to remain within the 'disregarded' 28-day and 14-day periods of overstay.

It is even more important that students and their dependants retain all evidence of applications, refusals, administrative review applications and decisions if they ever overstay.


A Tier 4 (Child) student who is older than 12 will be able to rely on the maintenance provision for students whose parent is currently in the UK under the Parent of a Tier 4 (Child) student with a younger sibling.

Other changes to Tier 4

References to the NQF and CQF are replaced by the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF); course levels remain the same – this affects Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child)

Tier 4 (General) probationary sponsors will be able to offer courses at level 3 to students aged under 18.


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