The UK is a great place to study – whether you are seeking to do a short course, your childhood schooling, or a degree, be it a Bachelors, Masters or PhD, the UK education system has a strong reputation across the globe. A UK qualification could be the edge your Curriculum Vitae (or Resume) needs!
Not only that, but you will get to experience life in a different culture, with a choice of so many fabulous places to do so! From quiet country towns, to famous cities such as London, Edinburgh, and let’s not forget Oxford and Cambridge! What’s not to like?!
In order to study in the UK you need to have been granted a place at a University, College, school or other educational institution who is licensed to enrol international students (a ‘Tier 4 sponsor’).
Once you have this place, you can begin preparing your visa application to get a UK Student Visa. Student visas come under Tier 4 of the Points Based System.
For more details on Student Visas see Tier 4 under UK Visas in our menu.
The UK operates a five-tier Points Based System for work and study visa applications:
To obtain a visa under the Points Based System you must score a minimum number of points. Each tier has various ‘attributes’ under which you can gain points. Each tier also has a number of ‘controls’, including proof of your English Language ability and your ability to finance yourself to a certain level. You must pass all of the controls.
The Points Based System was introduced to reduce discretion being exercised by the immigration officers (Entry Clearance Officers), thereby making the process more transparent and uniform regardless of which country you apply for your visa in.
Although this principle is of benefit to applicants as it reduces Entry Clearance Officers’ discretion, refusal rates in certain countries have dramatically increased – not because applicants couldn’t qualify but simply because they have not provided the paperwork required in the exact format necessary.
Some discretion around the credibility of someone actually studying once they arrive in the UK with a student visa has been introduced to Entry Clearance Officers. However, outside this particular aspect of the assessment of a student application their hands are still tied with regards to the documents submitted.
The requirements for the format of supporting documents are so specific that, when working for a British Consulate, de Prey Consulting’s Director, Nikki de Prey, would have to refuse dozens of applications a week just because of incorrectly completed forms or documentation.
Even though the Entry Clearance Officers want to issue visas for people who qualify for them, their hands are 100% tied by the highly technical rules and quality of the paperwork you submit.
The Points Based System does not allow for you to submit new or additional documents at a later date – the decision will be made on the documents presented with your initial visa application package, and those alone.
Having seen many applicants apply two, three, or sometimes four times before getting it right, wasting hundreds of pounds in application fees, weeks of their time and suffering the ensuing stress, de Prey Consulting highly recommends that you use an immigration consultant to get it right first time around.
Whether you use de Prey Consulting or another immigration professional, the Points Based System is one area where it can be unwise to go it alone.
If you have already been refused a visa under the Points Based System in an application made outside the UK, de Prey Consulting can also prepare an Administrative Review for you if we deem it warranted. An Administrative Review is a free re-assessment of your case by an independent Entry Clearance Manager. No new documentation can be submitted, and therefore Administrative Review should only be used where you believe the decision-maker has made an error in calculating your points.
As an ex-Entry Clearance Manager, de Prey Consulting’s Director, Nikki de Prey, conducted these re-assessments, and knows when they succeed and when they don’t. As always with de Prey Consulting, if Nikki thinks you will not qualify for a visa she will tell you immediately.
de Prey Consulting is an immigration consultancy based in Edinburgh, UK. Nikki advises clients on the variety of visa applications for entering or remaining in the UK. For more information read about her background in About dPC.