Dear Student
16th March 2017, the Home Office laid before Parliament changes to the Tier 4 Immigration Rules. These changes will affect applications submitted on or after 6 April 2017 and the main changes are summarized below.

Loans for maintenance purposes
Under the Tier 4 General route, loans for maintenance purposes must be made available to the applicant before they travel to the UK. An amendment is being made to allow loans to be paid directly to the educational institution in the UK, with the living costs portion of the loan released to the applicant before or on arrival in the UK. This change is being made because these loans demonstrate that the student has the means to support themselves while studying in the UK.

Genuine student rule
Under the Tier 4 General route, all applicants are required to satisfy Entry Clearance Officers that they are a genuine student. However those applying under Tier 4 Child route are not. To address this inconsistency, an amendment is being made so that applicants aged 16 or 17 will also be subject to the Genuine Student Rule under the Tier 4 Child route. The use of the Genuine Student Rule, and credibility interviewing, as a reason for refusal will only be applied where a case is considered to be a risk to immigration control.

Probationary sponsors
Under the Tier 4 (General) route, sponsors may only sponsor students to undertake courses that meet certain academic standards. An amendment is being made to allow sponsors, who have probationary status, to sponsor students aged under-18 to take courses at a lower level. For example courses at level 3 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and Level 6 in the Scottish Credits and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) in Scotland

Parent of a Tier 4 (Child)
A Tier 4 Child student aged under 12 can be accompanied by their parent on the Parent of a Tier 4 Child visa route. An amendment is now being made to allow for older siblings within the Tier 4 Child route to also reside with their parent(s) as long as their parent(s) have valid leave on the Parent of a Tier 4 Child route.

Parental consent and evidence of the relationship
Tier 4 students who are relying on funding from their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) are currently required to show evidence of their relationship, for example a birth certificate. An amendment is being made to explicitly require that all Tier 4 visa applications that are supported by a consent letter from parent(s) or legal guardian(s) are required to show evidence of the relationship.

Best wishes
Gateway Abroad

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