Tier 4 and trainees Q&A


This section answers questions about Tier 4 student visas and medical trainees.

Acronym glossary:

CoS - Certificate of Sponsorship

RLMT - Resident Labour Market Test

UKVI - UK Visas and Immigration 

HEI - Higher Education Institution

HEE - Health Education England

How soon can someone apply to switch from Tier 4 to a Tier 2 visa?

Applications can be made up to three months before the start date on the CoS

It is advisable to apply as early as possible to avoid delays that can occur during the UKVI’s peak period which hits in July and August each year. To switch tiers, applicants must provide the UKVI with evidence that they have completed their UK degree. The applicant must have had continuous permission to be in the UK since gaining the degree and provide the original degree certificate, or an original academic reference on official headed paper from the relevant institution. This must clearly show the individual’s name, the course title / award, the course duration, and date of course completion.

We have a Tier 4 student whose status has changed, do we need to notify the UKVI?

No, this is the responsibility of the HEI as the sponsor.

When switching from Foundation Programme under Tier 4 to Tier 2 do we need to apply the RLMT?

No. RLMT does not apply to graduates switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2.

What does it mean if an individual’s biometric card states ‘restricted work during term time’?

Some students at college or university who hold a Tier 4 visa, are permitted to undertake supplementary work whilst in the UK, this depends on the level of the course they are studying and the type of sponsor they have.

It is important that employers are aware of these entitlements before employing a student, and that you check documentation to confirm the person is allowed to do the type of work you are offering.

A student who is permitted to work will have a clear endorsement in their biometric residence permit which states they are permitted to work, and the number of hours of work allowed during the term time. If this information is not set out, this is an indication that the student does not have the right to work.

Do trainee doctors from overseas require employer sponsorship?

In most circumstances overseas doctors completing the two year foundation programme will be working under a Tier 4 visa. Whilst a Tier 4 visa usually involves an individual being sponsored by their college or university, foundation programme medical trainees are granted sponsorship by Health Education England (effective from November 2016 when sponsorship responsibility changed from Health Education South London).

Doctors from overseas who take up specialty training posts will usually require Tier 2 sponsorship, but the responsibility for sponsorship is now held by HEE, rather than individual employers (effective from August 2015). Health Education West Midlands administer this process on behalf of HEE.

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