A new maintenance fee structure is coming into force on 12 November 2015. If you’re an international student planning to study in the UK, you should apply for your Tier 4 visa in the next 30 days to avoid this. Maintenance fee requirements for students in the greater London area will increase from £820 to £1,015 per month. If you have any dependents, their maintenance fees will also increase, from £460 to £680 per month.
What’s new for students?
You will need to have cash reserves for either the length of your intended course of study or nine months, whichever is shorter. New students will need to have at least £9,135 available for living expenses when they apply for their visa. For those living and studying in inner London, these fees will increase to £11,385 to cover the nine-month period, while dependants will need £7,605.
Prospective students should be aware that the area considered as “London” is also expanding, so the higher fee bracket will affect a greater number of residents.
The new regulations will also revoke the “established presence” proviso, a qualification that meant that certain students only needed funds for two months when applying for their visa. This has a significant impact when looking at the example of a PhD student in central London. Instead of the £2,040 currently required, they will now need to have access to £11,385.
Other recent changes
Legislation around working while studying has also been recently amended. This was after the release of concerning statistics around the “credibility interviews” being conducted on prospective non-European Union students. The refusal rate is currently at 9% for the almost 250,000 interviews conducted over the past two years.
Several sources have suggested that the Home Office is considering lowering the permitted visa refusal rate to 5%. This will allow institutions to maintain their status as sponsors under the Tier 4 system for overseas students.
These changes are the latest in a series of amendments by the UK government in an attempt to ensure that these visa categories are not misused as a means of attaining UK citizenship.