Your studies and Tier 4

Points Based Immigration System

Tier 4 is the tier of the Points Based Immigration System that applies to those wishing to come to the UK from outside the European Economic Area to study. Tier 4 replaced the old student immigration rules on the 31 March 2009.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is part of the Home Office and is the section of the UK Government that is responsible for immigration.

The University and Tier 4

UK institutions that wish to recruit international students to courses, including English Language courses, that are for longer than 6 months duration must be licensed by the Government as Tier 4 registered sponsors for immigration purposes. The University of Essex is a Tier 4 Sponsor.

To sponsor a student under Tier 4 we issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). CAS replaced visa letters for immigration applications made on or after the 22 February 2010. The University must follow strict Home Office guidelines when issuing CAS. Unfortunately this means it is not always possible to do so.

As a Tier 4 sponsor we must meet stringent criteria set by the Home Office and must comply with the requirements of the policy guidance for Tier 4 sponsors plus the various appendices.

The University has many responsibilities for students who we sponsor under Tier 4, including reporting students who do not enrol, monitoring attendance, reporting changes to planned study and reporting any suspected breaches to conditions.

Students and Tier 4

Students applying for Tier 4 have to be able to demonstrate that they can meet the 40 points required for a student visa.
30 points will be awarded for a CAS, issued by your sponsoring institution and 10 points for meeting the maintenance and funds requirement.

The Tier 4 visa will be linked to the institution that issued the CAS used to make the application. Students must study with this institution or they will be in breach of their immigration conditions. If a student wishes to change to a different sponsor, then they must make a new Tier 4 application, before they can start their studies.

If you are in the UK with immigration permission under Tier 4 you must ensure you do not breach your immigration conditions. You are required to contact the Home Office if you change your studies, as stated in the Home Office Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

I'm already a student at the University, does this affect me?

  • Yes, if you have a Tier 4 visa.

If you have a student visa issued under old immigration rules and not Tier 4 this does not affect you at the moment. However, you must continue to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules your visa was issued under and must not breach the conditions of that visa. If you wish to extend your visa to remain in the UK to study further you will have to make an application under the new Tier 4 Immigration Rules and must make sure you can meet the requirements.