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Studying in the UK

Posted on December 9, 2014
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London, England – The quality of British education is one that the United Kingdom is proud to present around the world, and there is intense competition among leading countries to recruit international students.

According to the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), an estimated 430,000 international students study in the UK every year, and it is estimated that their value is around £8.6 billion a year.

However because this was the way used in the last few years to increase the number of illegal immigrants in the UK, the British government has tightened the screws on this route and shut down over 500 private colleges.

For those who wish to obtain a qualification from the UK, this appears to be one of the easiest visa categories so long as you can fulfil the requirements.

Many know that this is also a route that could give a student a way to obtain work legally in the UK and after a time, to obtain Indefinite Leave to remain.

Let us look at what happened to three compatriots who tried their luck by studying in the UK.

Newly- arrived student in England

Julie Ann Nealega is 23-years old from Camarines Sur. She worked previously at ABS-CBN in Manila. She decided to continue her studies in the UK.

For Nealega, coming up with sufficient funds was the most difficult thing she had to do. But because her family supported her fully, she was able to overcome this obstacle.

Nealega was asked to provide proof that she speaks English. She found out that the requirements of different universities were not uniform. In any case, she passed the test and she actually received unconditional offers from four different universities.

Nealaga knows that she can compete with the best students here and she expects to succeed In the UK.

“I am lucky that I had a background in journalism. Although my orientation is Filipino when it comes to writing, my English is quite strong so I did not find it difficult to go head to head with other nationals,” she said.


A veteran journalist with 20-years of experience, 40-year old ‘Anna’ (not her real name) already completed her Masteral degrees in Denmark and in the UK. Unfortunately, when she attempted to extend for a year to do her MBA, the Home Office refused her application.

She is now waiting for the results of her appeal of the Home Office’s decision.

Right from the beginning she found it difficult to apply to study in the UK and for Anna it was almost a warning of what might happen to her in the UK. She applied from Denmark, and as she was not Danish, it was not the easiest thing to do. She managed to come here two or three days before her program started.

Anna was surprised when the British Embassy asked her for proof that she could speak English. She recalled their words, “since you don’t belong to a major English-speaking country, you have to show that you speak English and take a language exam.” She told them she had been working in English professionally for 20 years, and asked if it was possible to get an exemption. They said no, you have to take a language exam. All her American journalist tutors thought it was ridiculous.

Anna wanted to finish an MBA at an affordable university. She wanted to take a proper business degree but because she was paying for herself this time, she wanted to spend as little as possible on tuition.

According to Anna she was refused an extension because she did not submit detailed bank statements and therefore they did not show daily transactions. The statements she submitted already had a daily balance of £27,000 but the refusal letter apparently said an average daily balance was not accepted.

For Anna, she felt that the Home Office was very unfair to international students who actually contribute to the economy of the country. Because of the government’s changing policies, students who may have already spent a lot of money studying here suddenly could get refused a visa to continue their stay.

Anna hopes the Home Office would resurrect the post study work visa which allowed graduates to work for 2 years in the country as this would make their stay worthwhile.

“A lot of students can contribute to the UK economy if they were allowed to work… if you want to work, I would advise against it, because it’s getting more difficult to get a work visa here,” she said.


Ronalyn Pacyod, 27 years old, from Quirino Province and a former teacher in the Philippines, is the luckiest among the three case studies.

This is because having studied here for a while since 2010, she was fortunate to obtain sponsored employment or work permit and is now starting to count the years towards the day she becomes entitled to permanent residence in the UK.

According to Pacyod, it is a huge challenge to be a student in the UK. It was not easy to be away from family, apart from being a stranger in the place. You work limited hours and then you face the problem of colleges closing down and you losing money as a result, she related.

She said you have to tighten your belt in order to survive. But she said that there are many opportunities in London and that if you are not choosy, you work hard, then you will survive.

When she finished her first course, she tried to apply for a work permit, but this was refused by the Home Office. She did not give up and continued with her studies and doubled her determination to succeed.

Because of her success eventually in obtaining a work permit, Pacyod has some advice for those who want to follow in her footsteps. “Honestly, it’s not easy po, you have to prepare yourself financially. You have to prepare yourself mentally because you will have to study really. But if you’re determined and very willing to do it, then you will get it.”


If, despite the hardship and the costs of studying in the United Kingdom, you still decide to continue your studies here or bring your family members to study here, you need to prepare the following:

Get an English test certificate, for example IELTS test, where the overall test score should not be less than 6.0.

Look for a legitimate university which offers your chosen subject and apply.

Forget the private colleges. Hundreds of colleges have been shut down by the Home Office because many of them were just bogus visa factories.

Prepare enough money to pay for tuition fees which average around £13,000.

Prepare your maintenance funds or what is referred to as ‘show money’ which is sufficient for one academic year or nine months. If your university is in Inner London, you need to prepare £1,020 per month, or if in outer London, you need £820 per month.

Once you have obtained your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or CAS, then you should obtain a Tuberculosis test certificate and then you will be ready to apply for Tier 4 Student Visa.

If your documents and proof of funds are all in order, you could get your visa straightaway and then fly to the UK in order to start your dreams.

It may be difficult and expensive to study in the UK, but if you finish your undergraduate degree or masteral degree here, you could start looking for an employer who has a sponsorship license from the Home Office and is prepared to offer you what is called a Certificate of Sponsorship or CoS.

Aside from your passport and personal documents, you need to prepare the following:

British certificate of degree BA, BSc, MA, MSc or MBA
Certificate of Sponsorship with Home Office reference number
Appropriate salary (£22,000 or more)
Correct job code
Correct number of hours
Labour Market Exercise 4 weeks recruitment advertisement
Maintenance Funds £945 for the last 3 months in your bank account or sponsorship letter from employing company

If you have completed your degree in the UK, then you will be exempted from the English requirement.

Once you have prepared all the required documents and funds, you can then apply to convert your Tier 4 Student Visa to Tier 2 General Migrant Visa.

If you are lucky, you could be granted permission to work in the UK for three years, renewable.


Getting a student visa in the UK is really difficult to obtain and involves spending a lot of money. But one will surely forget all the difficulties once granted a student visa and hopefully, permitted to work.

Before making the decision to study in the UK, make sure to consult an immigration consultant who will help you determine the things you need to prepare first. With Patrick Camara Ropeta in London, for Juan EU Konek, Gene Alcantara

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