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UK visas: more China access; low-risk status for UAE, Oman and Qatar

UK immigration rule changes were announced last week by new Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, which include the rubberstamping of a 12-month internship scheme for Chinese students in the UK at the top 211 universities.

OSSC can now offer 12-month internships for Chinese students keen to remain in the UK

Nationals of Oman, UAE and Qatar will now be categorised as low-risk because of high levels of compliance demonstrated

Graduates on Tier 4 will be able to transfer to Tier 5 GAE (Government Authorised Exchange) to complete internships offered via OSSC and Denning Legal. Chinese nationals will also be able to apply direct from China, as indicated by the Statement of Changes

Speaking with The PIE News late last year, MD of OSSC, Colin Chen, explained why offering internships was important so that Chinese graduates don’t just return home “with a piece of paper”.

“We are trying to work with those companies that have a China interest and create the ISIS scheme, then a student has the working experience before going back to their country and contributes to this country’s economy,” he said.

Colin Chen, MD of OSSC, speaks with The PIE News

Colin Chen, MD of OSSC, speaks with The PIE News

The rule change document indicates, “Interns will spend time with large UK businesses looking to expand their Chinese presence and to grow their trade links.”

This was part of Brokenshire’s statement on visa amends that will also see widening access for Chinese teachers coming to the UK via now a new visa category as part of the same Tier 5 GAE category.

Many teachers are expected to undertake placements at Confucius Institutes and classrooms in the UK via the Hanban exchange programme.

“The scheme aims to build and/or enhance foreign language skills and foster good cultural relations between the UK and China,” states the document.

The latest immigration changes also mean a decree that nationals of Oman, UAE and Qatar will now be categorised as low-risk because of high levels of compliance demonstrated. This means that less documentary evidence will now need to be supplied in the visa process.

“These changes will ensure that the UK remains competitive in attracting global talent”

However, while adding these three countries to Appendix H – which also includes Singapore, New Zealand and the USA, for example – the government is ending the exemption of “Appendix H countries” from needing to undergo a genuineness test (visa interview).

“The Home Office is removing the exemption…  so that UK Visas and Immigration officials can assess whether an applicant is a genuine student regardless of the nationality of the applicant,” explains the Statement of Changes.

Other rule changes that Brokenshire highlighted are in Tier 1 – opening up of the Exceptional Talent visa route to “world leading individuals in digital technology sector” by allowing digital tech companies to endorse up to 200 visa applications.

And removing the ring-fencing of Tier 1 places for MBA graduates and the current restrictions on participants’ graduation dates.

“These changes will ensure that the UK remains competitive in attracting global talent to work for British businesses, so that we can succeed in the global race,” said Brokenshire.

A further amendment is the requirement for Venezuelan visitors to now apply for a visitor visa before entering the UK.

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