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Visa Information for Agents
Friday, 16 September 2011
Expectations and responsibilities
As a Meridian School of English (Tellus Group Ltd) business partner recruiting visa students who intend to study English language at one of our language centres, you should be aware of the expectations the prospective students and the company have of you. Please, note that these guidelines only apply to adult students (18+) from countries that require a visa. Children need either a Child visitor visa or a Tier 4 Child student visa (see Paragraph Children below).
Your main role as an agent is to provide assistance and support to prospective students throughout the whole process of visa application and enrollment on our courses and during their stay in the UK. Moreover, you need to ensure that the students you are sending to study in the UK meet all necessary requirements and are not intending to break the conditions of their visa regulations. In order to do this efficiently, the correct recruitment practices must be in place and ensure you are up to date with the current immigration regulations.
Visa application process for adults
If an adult student needs a visa to come to the UK to study English as a foreign language, they can apply for three kinds of visa:
- a) a short term visitor visa for courses lasting up to 6 months (SVV)
- b) an extended student visitor visa for those who only want to study English as a Foreign Language for courses from 6 to 11 months (ESSV)
- c) a general student visa (Tier 4 General) for courses lasting more than 6 months;
The application process depends on the type of visa that the student wants to apply for. Each type of visa has different benefits and limitations (for more information, please, refer to the appropriate website listed in the next section).
Short term visitor visas (SVV)
- 1) The school issues a Student Visitor Visa letter. The student can study for up to six months (24 weeks) and there is no minimum language level for this visa. The student is not allowed to work or bring dependants. This type of visa cannot be extended without the students returning to their country for a period of six months. However, at the end of the period of the visa, the student may return home to apply for a ESVV, an extended student visa.
- 2) If the student meets the SVV requirements, they can apply for a visa.
For more information see the following links:
Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV)
The school issues an Extended Student Visitor visa (ESVV) letter. The student can study for up to 11 months (44 weeks) and, as with the SVV, there is no requirement for minimum language level for this visa. The student is not allowed to work and the visa cannot be extended without a six month waiting period in their country. However, hopefully, after completing a 11 month period of study, their language level should be high enough to apply in their country for a GSV, general student visa, if needed. The student cannot bring dependants into the UK.
General Student Visa (GSV)
The school issues a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) letter .The student can study for more than 6 months. There is a minimum language level (see below). The student is not allowed to take paid work and is not allowed to bring dependants into the UK on the same visa. The advantage of this visa is that it can be extended without the students returning to their own country.
There are several requirements the student must meet:
1. They need to have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a Tier 4 sponsor (in this case our institution), which is in the form of an unconditional offer to study on a course offered by the Tier 4 sponsor. In order to get it, the student must do the following:
- complete an application form for a language course
- provide a photocopy of his/her passport (front, back and page with personal details)
- provide a proof of their language level. The level can only be verified by a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Under the current regulations, a student needs to have at least a B1 level in the CEFR (ready to study at the B2 level). For a list of approved SELT tests, please visit: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/new-approved-eng...
2. They need to prove that they have enough funds to cover the course fees and monthly living costs (for more information, see Tier 4 guidance notes link in the next section).
In order to check if the student will be eligible to study in the UK, use the online Points-based calculator: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/pointscalculator
Children can either come for up to 6 months as a, or can come to the UK as a Tier 4 Child Student. The 6-month period of the Child Visitor visa can be extended to a maximum of 12 months. There are no language restrictions for a child visitor visa.
Those children who want to come for longer than 12 months must apply to come as a Tier 4 Child student. However, at our schools, we do not accept children on courses longer than 12 months.
Staying up-to-date with the immigration law
You should regularly check the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and UK Visas websites and read the Policy Guidance documents available to download from the UKBA website. These resources provide all the details of the visa application process, the documents needed, and other requirements that need to be met in order for a student to successfully complete the application process and come to study in the UK:
- UKBA website (with news updates, policy guidance documents and more)
- General visa information and guidance
- Student visitor visa (SVV and ESSV) information and application form
- Tier 4 of the Points Based System application form and guidance notes
- Tier 4 Points Based System – points calculator
- While you are in the UK (UKBA)
- Immigration Rules
Coordinator Katarzyna Sikora at Meridian School of English (Tellus Group Ltd)
Tel: +44 (0)845 673 3007