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What is the change? The United Kingdom has introduced two new student visa programs to replace the old Tier 4 route.
What does the change mean? Applications are now being accepted for the new Student and Child Student visa route. There is no cap on the number of visas available every year, and the visas will be available to non-EEA and EEA applicants alike.
Background: The U.K. hopes the new system will streamline the application process for international students. In order to qualify for visas, applicants are required to reach at least 70 points under the new criteria. Applicants can obtain these points by providing an offer from an approved educational institution, reaching the requisite English ability and showing they are able to support themselves financially while studying in the U.K. The points system will also ease some documentation and maintenance requirements for students, and will make it easier for some students to apply for different immigration permissions without leaving the U.K.
Analysis & Comments: The new student visa programs are designed to simplify student visa applications and the lack of a cap on the number of visas should encourage more international students. While applications will be accepted now from non-EEA nationals, both non-EEA and EEA nationals may apply for the visas once free movement ends on Jan. 1.
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