Updated 10 May 2019
Please be vigilant against any fraudluent calls or messages from the UKVI or other organisations. Both the University and the UKVI are aware of numerous scams targeting international students where the caller will pretend to be from the UKVI and demand the student pay a "fine". The caller will usually have the student's personal information, speak in dramatic terms threatening deportation or prison and "ghost" the UKVI telephone number to make it look like the call is genuine.
Be aware, the UKVI will never contact you and ask you to pay fees or fines over the phone. If you receive a call such as this, it may be a scam and we urge you to hang up and to not provide any personal information or money.
The most common variation of this scam is one targeting Indian students where the caller pretends to be from the UKVI and threatens deportation or arrest due to a mistake on a visa application. The student is then pressured to pay a fine via Western Union or Itunes vouchers.
We are also aware of a scam targeting Chinese students over WeChat where they may receive a message from the bank or police saying that they owe funds immediately, often being offered preferential exchange rates on currency conversions.
If you have received one of these calls, please speak to an International Student Adviser who can help you report this to Action Fraud
Further information can be found here.
Also a helpful UKVI factsheet can be found here.
Expansion of E-Gates
The UKVI had announced plans to expand the use of E-Gates for certian nationalities at several UK airports and the Eurostar train terminals. The proposal will mean that that eligible nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America can use the automated eGates on arrival into the UK, free of charge. Nationals from these seven countries will also no longer need to complete a landing card on arrival.
The aim is to make entry slightly easier for those eligible nationalities as they would not be required to see a Border Officer at the Immigration desk.
This change has now come into force from June 2019 and you can read more about how to use the E-Gate (and if you are any of the names nationalities) here.
*Important- However, if you were planning to enter the UK as a Short Term Study student and were a national of any of the above countries, you should not use the E-Gates. This is because you need to see a Border Officer to obtain the correct Short Term Study visa stamp as evidence you have entered with the correct permission. See our Short Term Study pages for more information.
Immigration Health Surcharge Increase
Proposals have been approved in Parliament to increase the mandatory health surcharge for certain visa applications. Tier 4 being one of them. The Immigration Health Surcharge has increased from the 8th January 2019 and any visa application made after this date will be subject to the higher charge.
For Tier 4, this has doubled from £150 per year to £300 per year.
Further information can be found here.
New UKVI application system
The UKVI have introduced a brand new system for visa applications in the UK. Instead of posting documents to the UKVI and parting with your passport, the UKVI have partnered with Sopra Steria to create "Visa Application Centres" in the UK.
This new system will mimic the overseas system where you will book an appointment to submit your supporting documents for scanning and to complete your biometric enrolment in a single appointment. There is also the capability for applicants to upload their own documents prior to the appointment.
For now, if you are completing a visa application in the UK, you can still make use of the existing postal and priority postal system. But over a short transition period, the old system will begin to phase out and all visa applications will be completed through the new system.
If you have a pending visa extension, your adviser can discuss whether it would be better for you to use the existing or new system.
More information here and click the logo below for further information from Sopra Steria.
Proposed Visa Changes
On the 19th December 2018, the government published a white paper detailing proposed visa changes. You can find a summary of these proposals here. Please note that these are just proposals and none of these rule changes have come into effect yet. We advise that you subscribe to the UKCISA page to stay updated on the relevant Tier 4 and work visa related proposals.
Aston University welcomes the UK Government's proposal of a new post-study work visa that would allow international students to stay in the UK for two years after they successfully complete their degree. We will follow developments with interest and we will update our visa webpages as details are confirmed.
Information correct as of 14/01/2019