Thursday, March 12, 2009

New UK immigration rules update

There is one industry that is recession proof and some research actually shows that it does better when the economy is bad. I am referring to the billion pound education industry. British universities have been highly successful in attracting thousands of bright foreign students to the British Isles.

A BBC report in 2008 showed that fees from International students amounted to £1.7bn. The Universities are interested in attracting foreign non-EU students because they can charge them higher. In my case I paid approximately £10300 this year and the fees are increasing. Local and EU students only pay one third that amount. In other words I am paying for the cost of two local/ EU students. I don't mind because a degree from a reputed British University is looked on favourably by employers all around the World (at least I hope so).

The Malaysian Government itself spends millions of dollars every year sponsoring the education of thousands of students in institutes of higher learning all over the UK.

However, recent changes in immigration regulations may change all that. First were the requirement to carry biometric identity cards. I didn't mind that even though there were a lot of protests because I am used to carrying an ID card all the time in Malaysia.

Yesterday we received an email from the University informing us of Pending changes to the immigration rules for student visa renewals. Based on the new rules which will be implemented from the 31st of March 2009, students would need to provide evidence of any remaining course fees to be paid plus £600pm (up to a maximum of £1200) living costs for visa extensions of nine months or less. If more than nine months you will need to provide evidence of your first year’s fees plus £1200 living costs.

The most worrying part of the new rule is the part of dependants. Namely the fact that you will need to show evidence of funds to support them. The amount has not been fixed yet but is tentatively £533 (per month) for each dependant (including children).

I guess this is part of their policy to toughen immigration rules and it has got worse since the economic recession started. All of us can feel a deepening anti-foreigner sentiment - from politicians, newspaper articles and even bloggers.

Now we are blamed for all short of problems ranging from health care to employment. This is plain ridiculous. Instead of creating more employment and reducing the number of people on the dole, foreigners are the perfect bogeyman to take the blame for past planning, economic and financial mistakes on the part of the Government.

I do agree that there is a problem of illegal immigrants but the new policies will affect the students legally staying and contributing to the British economy. I guess they are frustrated because they can't do anything about the rest of the Europeans (since the UK is part of the EU) or the illegal immigrants or the asylum seekers.

The ones worst affected will be the PhD research students with families. Officially most PhD courses are supposed to be of 3 years duration and the visa are given accordingly but apart from rare cases, most will extend to the fourth or fifth year. For example, in the Warwick Business School, I don't know of any single student (foreign and local) who has completed their PhD degree in the stipulated 3 years duration. The only guy I know who completed in 3 years in the whole University of Warwick was a Malaysian in the Engineering faculty and he was lucky because all his experiments went as planned. Sometimes it is not even the fault of the students as some supervisors can take their own sweet time in passing the students.

My friend has 4 kids and he has to have approximately £24588 £29385 + (based on the details given to us) in his account in order to extend his study for another 9 months. Failure to do so might mean going back to Malaysia without completing the degree (after 3 long years of research). It's scary.

First Commentator
Hapi

10 comments:

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

MuzEju said...

Oh no... why do they make it so difficult??? The least they could do is to apply this rule to new students. Is the British government going to refund your previous fees if you being deported without a degree?

D said...

WHAT?? £24588 + for someone with 4 kids? I will definitely need to extend my visa because of my one year 'leave'. My GOD - you think there's a tycoon out there kind enough to loan me the money?

Security Alarm Systems said...

That is quite a bit of money. i dunno if I could ever afford to go to a British university. Maybe someday I can, but until then I will just stick to America.

Adam Dilip Mutum said...

Hapi: Thanks for dropping by.

MuzEzu: I don't think they will refund anything.

D: I actually got it wrong. It is actually £29385 with the wife included.

Azman said...

This may derail my plan to pursue my masters in the UK in a couple of years time.....
:(

shin said...

Hey Adam, I hope you are not facing much difficulty yourself there! Let's hope the newbies know what they are up to! And it's not cheap!

(I suddenly feel pity for those parents sending their children to Great Britain). But then again, the pounds are low, great opportunity also).

Adam Dilip Mutum said...

Hi Azman: You should be OK as long as you have enough in your bank. Most Masters students complete their degree well in time.

Shin: I still have some time on my visa but I am under pressure to complete everything well before other people. I don't think the pound will stay down that long

Web Player said...

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Now thought had to give some information to readers on what Visa For UK.
Visa for UK is a UK based immigration company headquartered at Manchester and managed by UK immigration solicitors. They provide all kind of assistance to clients and cover almost all visa categories to the UK, namely business visits, holiday visit, HSMP Visa. However they mainly focus on student admission and visa documentation.
The question that comes up these days is: when will the UK immigration system take effect and will I be affected by the changes. The system is of course being ‘rolled out’ slowly and until there is a definitive change, the old rules will apply.
There has been huge increase in the number of students opting UK as a destination of study. It is gaining wide popularity, because of the global recognition of degrees awarded by UK universities. We assist our students in choosing the right course and the right institute.
The student visitor visa is for those that plan a stay of less than 6 months. Under the Student Visitor Visa, a student cannot have paid employment or an internship greater than 2 credit hours, and cannot extend their stay once they have arrived. For everyone else if you plan to stay more than 6 months, if you may extend beyond 6 months, or if you want to working in UK or have an internship greater than 2 credit hours -- then you need to apply for a Student Visa/Prior Entry Clearance.
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Ron Russell said...

Sorry to hear of your problems with the immigrations rules regarding schooling. Rules should be relaxed some, but for immigrates who come without any funds the rules should be tightened. Britian is not the wealthy country it once was. I live in the states and our problems are not with those who come with money, but with the millions who come in illegally and strain the resources of our local and regional facilities---hospitals, schools, etc. Anyway good luck. We need more immigrates of your caliber.

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