The British Medical Association (BMA) has launched a new service alerting all their members about UK visa immigration rule changes that affect them. The visa alert system is intended to help ensure that doctors and medical students do not fall foul of UK’s increasingly complex immigration and visa rules.
Doctors / GPs on a Tier 2 General Migrant Visa
UK immigration rules are subject to rapid change. For example, the maintenance amount for Tier 2 visa holders (the monies the same are required to show in their bank accounts) is set to increase from £900 to £945. This change will come into effect for applications made on or after 1 July 2014.
Under the points based system, non-compliance with this minor change would likely result in a refusal of an application for a visa under the Tier 2 General Migrant category.
Medical Students On A Tier 4 Student Visa
Planned changes in the immigration rules will affect medical students currently on a Tier 4 visa. Those wanting to make an application on or after 1 July 2014 must meet the maintenance requirement by demonstrating that they have the amount of £1,020 in their bank accounts for each month of the course (maximum of nine months). This amount of £1,020 applies to those wishing to study in London and the requirement is reduced to £820 for those who study outside of London.
If the maintenance requirement is not met, the application will be rejected by the Home Office and the application fee will be lost. BMA international committee chair Terry John commented that:
‘Every year, we hear from doctors who have had visa applications refused for failing to meet the maintenance requirement, sometimes by amounts as small as 10 pence. Members who need to apply or reapply for visas enabling them to work for the benefit of NHS patients should sign up to our new visa alert scheme so they are not caught out.’
Changes set to affect Tier 4 Students & Tier 4 Sponsors
The main changes, which may affect Tier 4 sponsors and students, are as follows:
- Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificates: Students on the Doctorate Extension Scheme who want to apply for leave to remain are normally required to obtain an ATAS certificate to continue with their studies, but now will not need to obtain another certificate if their course of study finishes within 28 days of the date of application.
- Genuineness test removed: Low risks countries that are immune from the genuineness test will be removed. This means that any Tier 4 student, regardless of nationality, can be refused on genuineness grounds. We understand that although credibility testing was extended to in-country applicants from October 2013, this is yet to be implemented in practice.
- Maintenance requirement increase: The level of funds, which a Tier 4 student is required to hold for 28 days before making a Tier 4 application, is slightly increasing. This change will not be implemented until 1 July 2014 in order to allow students extra time to obtain and maintain the necessary funds.
- New additions to the list of ‘low risk countries’: Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (the ‘UAE’) are being added to the list of ‘low risk’ nationalities, i.e. those who are allowed to submit fewer evidential documents in support of their visa applications.
Successful UK Tier 4 Student Visa Applications & Appeals
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a student visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.
We also undertake a great deal of appeal work before the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and have a successful track record of successful results for our clients. We have the experience and the knowledge required to take your case forward successfully. If you have had a student visa refused, contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment.