Employment and Immigration Law Update - Recruiting Tier 4 students

25 June 2019

This article reflects on how the recent changes to the Tier 4 application process for students will enable the early submission of a visa application.

At this time of year many Tier 2 General sponsors are recruiting graduates who are currently in the UK on a Tier 4 Student visa. There are particular advantages if a migrant is switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 in the UK. In particular the employer is not required to complete a resident labour market test and there is also an exemption from the Immigration Skills Charge.

It has always been possible for PhD students to switch to Tier 2 after completing one year of PhD study. However, those studying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree have been required to produce either their degree certificate, or confirmation of their final results, with their Tier 2 visa application. Following changes to the Immigration Rules from 30 March 2019, it is now possible for Tier 4 Students to apply for their Tier 2 visa up to 3 months before they complete their bachelor’s or master’s course, so long as they have an academic reference from their university. This must be on official headed paper, signed by an authorised official and must confirm the student’s name, the course title/award, duration and the expected date when the student will have taken all exams and submitted all academic papers.

This change will enable graduates to get visa applications submitted earlier, so long as their employer is happy to provide a Certificate of Sponsorship and incur the costs of sponsorship before they have confirmation that the individual has actually been successful in obtaining the qualification in question.

This article is from the June 2019 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter on employment legislation and regulation. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. Law covered as at June 2019.

For further information please contact Clare Hedges or Janice Leggett in our Immigration Team.