Tier 2 sponsors will be pleased to hear that rules which came into effect from 11 January 2018 now allow Tier 4 Students on non-PhD courses to switch to a Tier 2 General visa when they have completed their course. This means that they no longer have to wait until they receive their final results before they start working under the Tier 2 visa.
The relaxing of these rules is positive for employers and could lead to an increase in the number of students heading to the UK for higher education.
Previously, Tier 4 Students needed to have successfully passed their Bachelor’s, Master’s, PCE or PGDE or completed at least 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD during their current leave before they could be sponsored under the Tier 2 rules. This often meant that sponsors had to wait months before they could assign a CoS to a student, so they could apply for a Tier 2 visa in country.
The flexibility in the immigration rules is to be welcomed especially as statistics show that the number of international students coming to the UK had decreased over the years due to the strict rules. As an example, December 2017 statistics from the UK Council for International Student Affairs showed that Indian students coming to the UK had fallen 44% in the last 5 years. Such students had chosen Canada and Australia as their destination to study instead.