20 August

UK Visas & Immigration (the part of the Home Office which deals with immigration) has just published some lovely new booklets, evidently designed to assist and encourage international students to come to the UK.

They are called “Applying for a UK Tier 4 Student visa” www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/503810/Students_leaflet_Gulf_Jan2016_web.pdf and “Top Tips for your UK Tier 4 student visa application” www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/503811/Top_tips_leaflet_student_GULF_Jan16_print.pdf

On their front pages they have a photograph of a rather attractive and very happy-looking young lady (presumably representing either a student or a potential student) and they also have a very clever play on words: “KNOWLEDGE IS GREAT” and then, in smaller type, “BRITAIN”.

The reader can immediately detect that this is going to be a highly sophisticated publication, and the positive impression is likely to be reinforced by the encouraging words inside: “The UK recognises the important contribution international students make, and welcomes those who wish to study at our world-class institutions. This leaflet is designed to provide you with some information about the Tier 4 visa routes for those wishing to study in the UK. It also provides information on the routes for short-term study.”

It is a long time since we have heard anything so unremittingly positive from the UKVI about students. They have spent much of the last few years in progressively tightening up the rules, making it more and more difficult for students to come to the UK. It doesn’t require a professor of economics to work out that international students bring an awful lot of money into the UK, in tuition fees and much else besides, and perhaps the UKVI, in the long dark watches of the winter nights, has been thinking about this.

At any rate, these booklets do contain some useful information. Much of the information is available elsewhere on the UKVI website, but they do contain a list of visas into which Tier 4 students can switch, information about which does not emerge very clearly from the published rules and policies.

This is quite a good effort from the UKVI.

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