Tier 4 Visa – A Vital Lifeline
The University sector is an important component of the British economy. The UK Council of International Student Affairs estimates its overall contribution to be in excess of £4 billion. UKCISA values this in terms of £2.4 billion deriving from Higher Education, £139 million from Further Education and £880 million from English language schooling. Fee paying students from overseas are a key contributor to that economic activity.
A Tier 4 general student visa application is mandatory for students from outside the EEA and Switzerland wishing to study in the UK. Students can only apply for the visa once they have a study place confirmed, and the application must be made within three months of starting the course. Different conditions apply depending on whether the application is made from within the UK or from overseas. In 2014 23,705 cases were refused and 7,855 were found to be invalid. In 2015 the number was 12,145 with 3,940 invalid. Although that may appear to be a dramatic reduction, the rate of rejection was relatively stable – slipping from 8% to 5% of the total number of applications.
No Right of Appeal
Inevitably, not all applications are successful. For applications made and refused before 20th October 2014 a right of appeal was exist, however, for applications made after this date no appeal is available. Instead, rejected applicants have the option only of an administrative review.
The terms of administrative reviews are restricted to an assessment of whether or not the Home Office made what it calls a ‘case working error’. That is, Home Office officials will determine whether or not (and to what degree) the administrative processing of the application was in any way in error. Needless to say, the restricted scope of administrative review offers fewer grounds for challenge that the previous Tier 4 visa appeal allowed.
28 Day Window
To further complicate matters, any application for an administrative review must be made within 28 days of the original decision to refuse the visa. That does not allow for much time to fully get to grips with the procedure whilst also making a case. Professional assistance can be vital during this period.
The UK education sector has been lobbying hard to ensure that overseas students can continue to access British universities. Ensuring that those students who they have persuaded to ‘buy British’ are actually able to gain the necessary tier 4 visa is a vital lifeline for education institutions who are facing increasing financial restrictions.
YDVISAS specialise in all visa categories and are specialist immigration lawyers in the UK. Please contact the expert team at YDVISAS, should you need any professional help with your visa application.