If you are in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa, you may be coming to the end of your studies and looking at ways of remaining in the UK.
Whether you are looking for long-term work, or have another reason for remaining in the UK, this blog will outline the alternative visa options to which it is possible to switch from a Tier 4 student visa.
The investor visa is open to anyone inside or outside the UK, including Tier 4 students, who can meet the eligibility requirements as a high-net worth migrant. To be granted, an applicant must:
If successful, you may stay in the UK for 3 years. Before the end of the visa validity, it is possible to extend the visa provided you have invested enough of the funds in the UK. Settlement is possible after 5 years continuous leave in this category.
For those aiming to put their degree to use in the UK, the Tier 2 (General) visa is the most popular. This category is designed for companies approved by the government to employ skilled migrants to work in the UK. A Tier 4 student visa holder is eligible to switch into this category provided they have:
It is possible to apply once your degree has ended, or up to 3 months in advance of the intended course conclusion. Settlement is possible after 5 years continuous leave in this category.
This visa is also open to Tier 4 student visa holders who wish to set up a business in the UK.
Besides meeting the general visa requirements, an applicant must:
The criteria for an endorsement is based on three concerns:
The requirements for this visa may appear light, however the criteria to gain an endorsement can be quite strict depending on the particular endorsing body.
If successful, the applicant will be granted 2 years leave to remain. Prior to the expiry of this visa, an applicant may apply to switch into the Innovator category. Settlement is possible after 3 years continuous leave within the Innovator category.
This is a sub-category of the Temporary Worker visa which is geared towards field-specific work placements. The Home Office maintain a list of Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme organisations, and the visa sub-category is open to migrants who can acquire an offer of sponsorship from one of those organisations.
It is possible for a Tier 4 student visa holder to switch into this visa category, provided they:
Successful applicants may remain in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months depending on the length of the scheme applied for. This visa sub-category cannot be extended and this is not a route to settlement.
Finally, it is also possible for a Tier 4 student visa holder to switch into a family member visa. To be eligible, an applicant and their British spouse must:
This is one of the more complex applications to make due to the pitiless eligibility requirements, which we have intentionally summarised here for the sake of brevity. An unsuccessful application will mean a refusal. A refusal will mean the loss of the exorbitant and non-refundable processing fee charged by the Home Office.
A successful applicant will be granted 2.5 years leave to remain in the UK. Prior to the expiry of this visa, an applicant may apply for a further 2.5 years. Settlement is possible after 5 years continuous leave in this category.
Our immigration solicitors have a wealth of experience navigating the tricky submission procedures involved in switching visa categories. If you would like help making any of the abovementioned applications, please do not hesitate to contact us for expert advice and assistance.
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