Changes to Student Visas

International Students

Aston University is well placed to deal with changes to student visas outlined by the Home Secretary Theresa May.

As a Highly Trusted Tier 4 sponsor we welcome applications from international students and encourage you to apply for a place on one of our courses.  Further information on applying to Aston University 

Many of the changes, which are being introduced between April 2011 and April 2012, are already standard procedures for the University.

In brief, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) changes, alongside Aston's existing policies are outlined below:

  • From April 2012, any institution wanting to sponsor students will need to hold Highly Trusted Status.
    Aston University has already achieved this status.

  • Since April 2011, students studying at undergraduate degree level must have English language skills at level B2 or above, of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
    Aston University normally asks for B2 English language for its courses.

  • From April 2012, students will be able to spend a maximum of five years on a student visa at undergraduate and Master’s level.
    This is sufficient for Aston University students as the University's undergraduate degrees are a maximum of four years in length. Many of our international students choose to take an additional one year Master’s course, However, this is still within the five year visa limit.

  • Since 4 July 2011, if you come from 1 of 15 ‘low risk’ countries to Aston University, you are not required to prove you have evidence of funds although you are still required to have sufficient money.
    This mean less visa bureaucracy for some Aston University students.

  • Since 4 July 2011, students who are not at university will have limited rights to work in the UK on student visas.
    Aston University students will be allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time, with no limit on working hours during vacations.

  • From April 2012 students studying below university degree level will limited in the length of time they can spend on a placement as part of their course - 33% will be the maximum.
    Aston University students will not be restricted to 33%. Instead they will be allowed to spend up to 50% of their time on placement if it is an integral part of their Aston course.

  • Since 4 July 2011, it has not been possible to bring dependants to the UK unless students are government sponsored on a course which lasts for 6 months or more or are on a postgraduate course which lasts for 12 months or more.
    All Aston University postgraduate courses last for at least 12 months.

  • After April 2012, at the end of the course, students will not be possible to switch to a Tier 1 Post Study Work visa.
    Many Aston University students will be able to switch into a Tier 2 visa because of the University’s excellent graduate employment record, the experience gained during the undergraduate placement years, and the ability to command a salary in excess of £20,000 per year.

Student entrepreneur Visa

The government has also pledged to develop a new entrepreneur route for bright and innovative students who have a business idea and want to make it work in the UK.
On 22 March 2011, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced: "We will ensure that genuine student entrepreneurs with a great idea will be able to stay on in the UK to develop their business proposition".

It is not yet clear exactly when this new visa will be introduced.  The government are continuing to work on the finer details of the policy. As and when we have more details we will let you know.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research