The recent changes in visa rules of several countries are part of their government’s crack down on potential abuse of the system. While all countries want foreign students to come and study, no one wants to encourage the illegal entry of immigrants.
The new regulations for visas pit in place by UK, Australia and Canada aim to address various concerns. For instance, cases of people using the student visa route as a backdoor entry for working or migrating to the country are common and need to be discouraged. The consulates of each country are taking steps to identify document fraud, confirm financial capacity and verify student bona fides.
The main student visa regulation in every country remains the requirement for evidence of funds to contribute to the students’ cost of living and studying in that country. While international students are able to supplement their income with money earned through 20 hours of part time work, the condition to show evidence of living costs helps to support the success of students in their studies by ensuring that they do not rely on part time work to meet all their expenses. This is done with the objectives of ensuring that students are able to make the most of their studies and have a safe and enjoyable experience
Genuine students going to registered or government recognized institutes for a degree level course no cause to worry.
The general rules observed by all consulates are:
All student visa applicants are subject to standard immigration checks which include health, character and security checks.
All applicants for a student visa must show that they have a genuine intention to enter the country for the purpose of study. The evidence required to meet this is the unconditional offer of admission (Australia & Canada) or Confirmation for Acceptance to study (UK)
All student visa applicants must meet the English language proficiency tests and other educational requirements.
Prospective students are encouraged to apply well before the stipulated time.
All student visa applicants must meet the English language proficiency test and other educational requirements.
Prospective students are encouraged to apply well before their intended course commences in any country and to ensure that their application is complete. Incomplete applications without all relevant documents can cause delays in processing an application.
Some of the changes introduced by the UK government included:
UK has made it compulsory for any college / university wanting to bring in international students to be accredited and licensed. This has reduced the number of institutions able to bring students to the UK to approximately 2,000.
The government requires al foreign students to be sponsored by a college licensed by the UK Border Agency and to demonstrate that they can support themselves once they get there being granted a visa. A sponsor as per rules of the UK Border Agency is the university or academic institute which has given an unconditional offer of admission to the student. Even the criteria for defining which course providers count as highly trusted sponsors of foreign students have been made tougher and all publicly funded universities and colleges have been made to count by default as highly trusted sponsors. Potential applicants under their four of the points based system will also need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies from their prospective sponsor.
The tier one post study work category allows UK to retain the most able international graduates. During their permission to stay here, post study workers can look for work without needing to have a sponsor: The category provides a bridge to highly skilled or skilled workers. If UK gives you permission to stay as post study worker, they expect you to switch into another tier of the points based system as soon as you have secured a full time job.
An additional requirement for students to demonstrate their English language ability by passing an approved secure test has been put in place. This will apply to all students studying below (foundation) degree level, including those coming to study English language.
The curb on part time work to 10 hours per week in the UK has been out only on non degrees students. Part time work rules for regular students enrolled in full time degree level course have not changed. The new rules also ban anyone studying a course for less than six months from bringing in dependants but again students in full time degree level courses remain unaffected.
Australia introduced a number of rules that became effective from January 1, 2010 that check background of an applicant including upgrading the interview process. This has made possible for officers of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship assessing student visa applications the discretion to access a prospective student’s financial, employment and previous immigration history. Some other measures put in place are:
International students holding a confirmed offer of admission from a registered Australian university now need to demonstrate that the have genuine access to sufficient funds. From $ 12000 a year, the minimum proof has now been raised to $18000 a year. Where there is doubt about the student’s ability to access claimed funds in Australia, the prospective student may be requested to provide further information.
A new sponsorship frame work has been introduced for a number of temporary residence visas wit work rights. The changes aim to strengthen the integrity of the temporary residence visa program while protecting the employment and training opportunities of local labor.
In contrast to other countries, Canada is making it easier for citizens from outside the country to come and study and find meaningful employment. Recently the Canadian Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration through their Postgraduate Work Permit Program enabled international students to obtain an open permit with no restrictions on the type of employment and no requirements for job offer. However, students wishing to study in Canada need Students Authorization the basic process for which as follows:
Once the admission is secured, the student is required to submit an application to the Canadian immigration office for student authorization and visa. A student visa requires documents that include a confirmed offer of admission in Canada, a bank loan letter or sufficient funds in the bank as proof to cover tuition and living expenses.
The application can be made by a student within or outside Canada.