With the peak recruitment period well underway, sponsors are reminded that one of the most common grounds for refusal is the lack of a TB certificate where required. As refusals can have a significant effect on the sponsor’s licence, we recommend that sponsors provide clear guidance to Tier 4 applicants on this requirement.
All students, including children, who meet the following requirements must provide a TB certificate with their Tier 4 visa application if:
- they are applying to come to the UK for more than six months; and
- they have been present in a country listed in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules for more than six months immediately prior to their application.
A student who would otherwise need to produce a TB certificate but who is returning to the UK to complete their studies won’t need to meet this requirement, providing they left the UK within the six months prior to the date of their new visa application.
A student who has been lawfully present in a country not mentioned in Appendix T for more than six months and who is applying for entry clearance (to enter the UK for more than six months) in an Appendix T country, but has not been in that country or any other country mentioned in Appendix T for more than six months immediately before making their application, is not required to produce a TB certificate (unless the Entry Clearance Officer refers the applicant for a medical examination).
The Home Office’s overview states that ‘returning residents’ do not need to apply for a TB certificate. The term ‘returning residents’ has a particular legal meaning as set out in paragraph 18 of the Immigration Rules. Only those who held Indefinite Leave to Remain when they left the UK can be considered to be a returning resident (subject to meeting some additional requirements).
Students who have previously studied in the UK under Tier 4 and who are applying to return under Tier 4 are not considered to be returning residents for the purpose of the Immigration Rules. If they have been away for more than six months and have lived in an Appendix T country for more than six months, they must include a TB certificate with their application.
This is one of those areas where the Home Office is known to make mistakes, especially now that much of the decision-making process for Tier 4 applications takes place in Sheffield. In the event of an error, it may be quicker to seek assistance from the Premium Account Manager or Educators Helpdesk (for non-premium account holders). However, in the event that a response is not forthcoming quickly, an in-time administrative review application should resolve the issue.