Studying in UK gets more expensive

New Rules Make It Tougher For Fresh Overseas Graduates To Get Jobs Too

It will soon become a lot more expensive for overseas students to study in the UK. An overseas applicant for a Tier 4 (student) visa needs to show that heshe has enough funds not just for their educational fees, but also to meet the cost of living (referred to as maintenance fund). The maintenance fund requirement has risen by 24%.Further, unless a student has a graduate-level job on hand, heshe has to return to their home country on completion of studies. Both these changes will come into force from November 12.

The cost increase will impact many Indian aspirants, and the restrictive job provisions will dampen the dreams of those currently studying in the UK. Indians there constitute the second largest group of overseas students. Students from India in the UK numbered 19,750 during 201314, though this was a drop of 2,635 from the previous year, according to data released by the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency .studying abroad

For a course of over nine months, an overseas student applying for a visa needs to have a maintenance fund of about £11,385 (about Rs 11 lakh) for London-based institutions and £9,135 (about Rs 9 lakh) for outside London. For courses of shorter durations, monthly maintenance funds have been specified at £1,265 (about Rs 1.26 lakh) for London and £1,015 (about Rs 1.01 lakh) for outside London.

The provision allowing students with an `established presence’ in the UK to meet a lower requirement will also be removed from November 12. Going forward, students who have completed bachelors in the UK and are starting masters will be required to hold the same level of funds as a student who is new to the UK.

The maintenance fund, required to be in place when applying for a visa needs to be a cash deposit; even an overdraft facility is not permitted. In case a UK-based relative is helping the overseas student, the money towards the maintenance fund needs to be transferred to the student or hisher parent or guardian’s account. Proof of holding such fund needs to be submit ted when applying for the visa.

In another big change, overseas students who have completed further educational courses will not be per mitted to extend their student (Tier 4 visa or switch to a points-based scheme visa such as a skilled worker (Tier 2) visa without first leaving the UK. This change does not affect inter national students who complete a de gree in the UK and then wish to start a masters course, or those who have managed to get a graduate-level job while in the country.

“As Tier 4 visas for courses of 12 or more months are normally granted for the duration of the educationa course plus four months, overseas stu dents have just four months within which to find a job or else have to re turn home,“ explains an educationa counsellor attached to a UK institute.“The UK should aim to strike a balance between maintaining its reputa ion as an international centre for eading study and research, while implementing measures to counter bogus educational establishments.These are very different challenges which require distinct solutions,“ says Margaret Burton, EY-UK partner specialising in global immigration.

“Further restrictions on legitimate students, coupled with the increased cost of studying in the UK, could have an adverse effect on the numbers of students that choose the UK as their study ocation. Removing students from the UK’s net migration targets could help reverse that trend,“ adds Burton.

Students are trying to work their way around these challenges. “My counsellor has advised me to start applying at several companies, in my last semester or even earlier,“ says a student hoping to get a job in London’s financial sector. “If I have to return to India empty-handed, I know it will be mpossible to then get a UK-based job; no investment banking outfit will agree o a telephone or Skype interview.“

Source: TOI 28 Oct’2015