UK Visas and Immigration Update – September 2016 Newsletter


Quarterly UK migration figures published

The latest Office for National Statistics figures published on 25 August show that net long-term migration to the UK has fallen slightly, but remains close to record levels. Significantly for HE providers, the figures show a sharp fall in the number of overseas students coming to Britain in the year to March. As The Guardian reports, their numbers are down by 28,000 to 164,000 and the lowest level since 2007. Specifically, the detailed figures show that:

Long-term immigration to the UK for all immigrants for study was estimated to be 164,000 in YE March 2016, a statistically significant reduction from 192,000 in March 2015. This is the lowest estimate since YE December 2007.”

The Times Higher Education also reports that there has been a fall in the number of students from outside the EU applying for visas to study at UK universities, but the figures show that the largest falls were actually in numbers coming to study in further education colleges and English language schools.


IPPR Report: Destination education: Reforming migration policy on international students to grow education exports [06/09/16]

The Institute for Public Policy Research has released a report on the effects of the UK’s migration policy on international students. The report found that the government’s focus on reducing net migration is causing unnecessary harm to the UK’s international education sector, one of UK’s major services exports. The IPPR also make a number of key recommendations based on the report, including that students should be excluded from the drive to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.

As reported by The PIE News and Times Higher Education, the report also concludes that the Home Office could be targeting ‘phantom’ international students who don’t exist in its attempts to drive down net migration figures. The government’s approach to international students and immigration in recent years may actually be based on figures that overestimate the number who stay in the UK by tens of thousands.


New digital visa application service now available worldwide

A new digital application service has been launched by the Home Office for those applying for a visa to visit the UK, making it simpler and more convenient to apply for a visa. Following a successful launch in China in 2014, Access UK has now been made available for customers applying to visit the UK in over 180 countries and 10 languages. The service is currently available for customers applying for three visa types; Standard Visitor, Visitor (Marriage & Civil Partnership), or Visitor (Permitted Paid Engagement). Eventually all customers, including students, applying for visit visas to the UK will use Access UK. Until then some types of visas can only be applied for through the existing application service. The full news story on GOV.UK can be read here.


Right to rent survey

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has produced short surveys for use by landlords and by tenants in order to gather evidence of how the right to rent scheme is working since it was extended to the whole of England. The surveys are online here. JCWI is asking institutions to circulate these surveys to landlords, staff and students who are subject to the scheme, so that they can produce as accurate a report as possible on the operation of the scheme.


Calculating living costs

On 29 July 2016 the Home Office confirmed to sector representatives that the correct way to calculate living costs for a Tier 4 application is by course duration, using the course start and end dates on the CAS.  They provided the following example:

  • Course start date: 30 May 2016
  • Course end date: 1 October 2016
  • Course duration = 4 months and 2 days, therefore 5 months’ maintenance is required.

(Previously they had advised that these dates would require six months’ of funds since the course spans six months, that is May, June, July, August, September and October.)

Students who need help calculating their course duration can use the calculator on (they should remember to tick the ‘Include end date in calculation’ box).


Progress of inquiry into Home Office removal of overseas students

The Home Affairs Select Committee has heard evidence from two international students accused by the Home Office of cheating in their ETS TOEIC English language tests as part of a wide-ranging investigation in 2014, as well as from Brink Gardner, former Principal of the independent Blake Hall College, which was forced to close after the revocation of its licence that same year. The hearing forms part of a larger inquiry that the Committee has been undertaking into the Home Office’s actions on this issue, and which is expected to report later in September. The evidence hearing is online here. Following the resignation of Keith Vaz as chair of the committee, The Guardian reports that Chuka Umunna, Caroline Flint and Yvette Cooper are likely to stand for election as his replacement.

  • On 15th September 2016