The Immigration Minister announced on 6 September 2013 new visa rules which come into effect from 1 October 2013.
The major change in the Immigration Rules is the concession for holders of some visitor visa categories to study for up to 30 days during the 6 months validity of the visitor visa. This means that holders of short term and long term visitor (general, family and business) visas will be able to enrol on a course of no more than 30 days' duration from that date, on condition that the main reason to travel to the UK (or had obtained the current visa) is not to study. All visitor visas issued from 1 October should no longer have the 'no study' restriction on their visas.
Holders of the following visitor visa categories are still unable to study:
Agents are advised that under no circumstances should prospective students be told to apply for a general visitor visa when they mainly intend to travel to study. Non-visa nationals arriving in the UK without a visa should still declare their intention to study where this is the main reason for them coming to the UK. There is no advantage in applying for a general visit visa instead of the Student Visitor Visa, unless the prospective student wishes to visit relatives or travel to the UK on business as well. The Home Office has provided reassurance that applicants for visitor visas mentioning a course of study on their application should not have their application rejected on the basis of the intention to study only.
The credibility interviews for students extending their Tier 4 visas will be carried out by the sponsorship team and will be on a small scale from October 2013 to March 2014. UK Visas and Immigration are still in the process of finalising the details. We hope to receive more information before the students are chosen for the interviews. It is planned that refusals based on credibility interviews will eventually count towards the HTS (Highly Trusted Sponsor) renewal rate.
From 1 October 2013, students not yet at B2 and enrolling on a degree level will be able to obtain a CAS (confirmation of acceptance for studies) for a pre-sessional and the main course if the sponsor of the main course is satisfied that the student will reach level B2 at the end of the pre-sessional.