What is the change? The United Kingdom is poised to replace the Tier 4 visa route with two new student visa programs.

What does the change mean? Under a plan now before Parliament, the U.K. would award Student and Child Student visas based on a new points-based system. The system will apply equally to EEA and non-EEA nationals, and there will be no cap on the number of visas available every year.

  • Implementation time frame: The student routes will open on Oct. 5 for non-EEA nationals. They will be available to EEA nationals beginning Jan. 1, after the Brexit transition period ends.
  • Visas/permits affected: Student and Child Student visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals planning to study in the U.K., including EEA nationals.
  • Next steps: Additional details are expected to be made available between now and the Oct. 5 implementation date.

Background: The U.K. is adopting the new system in hopes of providing a simpler visa process for international students. In order to qualify for visas, applicants will be required to reach at least 70 points under the new criteria. Applicants can obtain these points by evidencing 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 Home Office touted the changes as part of a broader effort to ensure the U.K. draws “the brightest and the best” to study in the country. Officials have set a goal of bringing 600,000 international students to the country per year by 2030. 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. More detailed information is expected in the coming weeks, and Deloitte will provide updates as information becomes available.

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