UK visas & immigration news

Immigration Bill – committee stage

The Immigration Bill has gone through the committee stage in the House of Commons. The following salient points have been discussed:

1. Admin reviews

The administrative review in the UK, which replaces the right of appeal, will cost £80. Students refused a visa on the grounds of credibility (credibility interviews are being introduced on a pilot basis) will not be able to use the administrative review route; they will be forced to use the judicial review route instead.

2. Requirement for landlords to check students' right to be in the UK

The Government has carefully considered the issues raised and has concluded that it would be right to exempt the purpose built student accommodation sector alongside University halls of residence. Therefore halls of residence, provided predominantly for the use of students will be exempt.

Students renting accommodation from other private landlords and accommodation providers will be subject to the same document checks required by other private tenants. Students will be able to use a letter from the education provider as confirmation of their status as students.

Members may wish to avoid their homestays having to go through the evidence checking process by acting as letting agents and undertaking the immigration status checks. There would need to be a signed agreement confirming this arrangement.

Bonds for visitors

The proposed bonds for visitors to the UK have now been scrapped. The £3,000 financial bond which would have been payable by visitors for a 6 months visa, and returned upon arrival back in the home country, will not be introduced.

Contact numbers for immigration desk at UK ports

The Home Office has sent us a list of the contact numbers for the immigration desks at UK ports and airports. The list can be accessed here. These are the duty numbers to use if there are any issues with students being held up.

Student Visitor Visas – entry stamps for non-visa national students

Clear instructions have been issued to Border Force staff on entry stamps for non-visa nationals arriving in the UK without entry clearance and intending to study.

Staff are being instructed to grant students leave to enter on Code 3 with the endorsement "six months- student visitor". Further, staff are being advised NOT to use the handwritten annotations. This doesn't mean that schools should not accept students with the 'VST' or 'SV' annotations. The grant of code 3 to students should make it clearer that they are allowed to study. This would be in line with the visa granted to students applying from overseas.

Updated SELT list

Following a review of the approved English tests, the Home Office has now published an updated SELT (Secure English Language Test) list. To view the updated list, please click here.

Child Visitor Visas

Nichola Carter from CarterThomas Solicitors has produced a useful guide to child visitor visas. Click here to view the guide.

Update from visa office in Russia

Please click here to download an update on the services offered by UK Visas and Immigration in Russia.

Visa regime for Kuwait, Oman, Qatar & the UAE

The Home Office has announced that the visa waiver scheme will be extended to Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. Rather than not requiring a visa application, the visa waiver will be introduced in the form of an electronic visa waiver, and those wishing to travel will need to submit an application online at least 48 hours before departure. The application will be free of charge and will not require applicants to give their biometrics. The scheme will launch in Qatar, Oman and UAE in early 2014, with Kuwait joining the scheme later in the year.

Only those coming to the UK for up to 6 months will be able to use the scheme. Please click here for more information.

Consultation on visa fees

The Home Office launched a consultation on 12 November on charges and fees for visa and immigration services. The consultation closes on 3 December 2013.

The consultation document and response form are available for download here.


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