Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
This category usually requires prospective applicants to be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body. The endorsement of arts applicants is being widened to include those in the field of architecture. The Royal Institute of British Architects operating within the endorsement remit of Arts Council England will assess the applicants.
Currently, only applicants who request 5 years’ leave qualify for the additional 4-month period. In the recent change, the grant periods for entry clearance applicants have been amended to include an additional 4-month period for each potential grant of leave.
Moreover, digital technology applicants who as a result of the Tech Nation online application form, will no longer be required to supply paper copies of their specified evidence to Home Office.
Tier 2 (Points Based System)
There is now an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requirement for Tier 2 (ICT) applicants extending leave in the United Kingdom. Applicants are required to obtain an ATAS certificate before studying a postgraduate qualification in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery.
Tier 4 (Points Bases System)
This route consists of Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child). It is often used by non-EEA nationals wishing to study in the UK.
Changes are being made to students who rely on student loans or funds from official financial sponsors. They are not required to demonstrate that the funds have been held for a period of 28 consecutive days.