The UK Education system is split into 4 main parts:
- Primary School (5 years old to 11 years old)
- Secondary School (11 years old to 16 years old)
- Further education; and (16 years old to 18 years old)
- Higher education (18 years old onwards)
The reputation of the UK Education system (alongside the cultural opportunities that exist in UK) make it very attractive for international students (or tiger cublings).
For those who are 4 to 17 years old, there is the Child Student visa. In order to secure such a visa, you must have an unconditional offer at an independent school. You must also demonstrate the fact that there is enough money to pay for the course and support the cost of living in the UK. There are limits on how long a student can remain in this category depending on whether the student is under or over 16 years old. It is not a route to settlement in itself but time spent in this category can be added or counted towards the 10 year long residence visa route.
For those who are 18 years old or older, the student visa (formally known as the Tier 4 (General) Migrant visa) is the only option. In order to secure a student visa, you must have a licensed student sponsor, have enough money to cover your stay and be able to speak, read, write and understand the English language. There are also limits on how long you can reside in this category but again time spent in the UK as a student can count towards the 10 year long residence visa route.
Once a tiger cubling has progressed through primary, secondary, further and higher education, they are now a full-blown tiger and may want to start their working life. This is where the Graduate visa route comes in. It allows those who might have completed a bachelor's degree, postgraduate degree or any other eligible degree to work in the UK for two years. You don’t require sponsorship and it allows our young tigers to gain valuable work experience.
This snap shot of how the UK education and immigration system works can help many international families plan their children's educational and career aspirations.